Delhi police grill Boje over match-fixing scam

Published: Tuesday, December 11, 2007, 14:19 [IST]
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New Delhi: Delhi police on Tuesday began questioning South African cricketer Nicky Boje about a major match-fixing scandal in 2000, police Crime Branch officers said.

The 34-year-old was escorted in a private vehicle by South African diplomats to a New Delhi interrogation centre where detectives began the questioning, they said.

"The questioning has begun and Boje is cooperating nicely with us," New Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat told AFP.

The left-arm spinner, who retired from international cricket last year, came voluntarily from the northern Indian city of Panchkula, where he is playing in the rebel Indian Cricket League until Sunday.

Bhagat said Boje was being questioned in connection with the match-fixing scandal involving then South African skipper Hansie Cronje and three of his teammates during South Africa's tour of India in 2000.

The police issued the summons on Wednesday, ordering Boje to 'assist' detectives in the ongoing probe.

The scandal earned a life ban for Cronje, who died in an aircrash in 2002.

Crime Branch officers said they had a written questionnaire for Boje.

"We want him to corroborate certain things that (South Africa's Herschelle) Gibbs told us during his questioning in October 2006," a police officer, who declined to be named, told AFP without elaborating.

Boje had previously skipped two tours of India after failing to obtain assurances that he would not be detained by police.

Spokesman Bhagat declined to say if Boje would be detained after his grilling. "We will offer comments after the questioning," he said.

Cronje and batsman Gibbs were found guilty of being part of the skipper's conspiracy in a public inquiry in South Africa.

They were fined and banned for six months after Indian police exposed the biggest betting scandal to hit cricket.

Boje, who was let off by the public inquiry, is however listed as one of the key suspects in India.

Gibbs was questioned by detectives when he flew to India for the Champions Trophy last year. During his questioning he had named three teammates as co-conspirators.

Delhi police say they recorded Cronje's telephone conversations with bookies in India in which he struck deals to throw one-day matches.

Gibbs during his questioning admitted accepting money from Cronje to score fewer than 20 runs against India in a one-day match during the 2000 March-April tour.

He subsequently scored 74 runs and said he had 'forgotten' about the deal, but was still suspended and fined by the South African authorities.


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