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Monday, February 17, 2020

Bookie Sanjeev Chawla: The man who knows too much

Investigations show that the main accused Sanjeev Chawla remained in constant touch with the South African captain Hansie Cronje at most of the venues of the matches.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: February 14, 2020 7:51:43 am
Sanjeev Chawla, Sanjeev Chawla extradition, 2000 cricket match-fixing scandal, 2000 match-fixing, Mohammad Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja, Ajay Sharma, Hansie Cronje, Herschelle Gibbs, indian express On June 14, 2016, Chawla was arrested in London following India’s request for his extradition.

Delhi Police chargesheet

‘This brings out criminal intentions of accused to fix’

THE BACKGROUND: It began in 2000 with Delhi Police investigating an extortion complaint by an Old Delhi businessman, who was asked to cough up Rs 5 crore by Dubai-based Shaheen Haitheley, a suspected Chhota Shakeel and D-Company operative. A background check of those in touch with Haitheley threw up a Bollywood name – Krishan Kumar, a failed actor and brother of late T-Series founder Gulshan Kumar. Delhi Police put Kumar’s phone on surveillance but they couldn’t make any headway. Later was decided to closely observe Kumar’s friends, Rajesh Kalra, Sunil Dara, and Man Mohan Khattar.

Explained | Sanjeev Chawla extradited: The bookie’s role in one the biggest cricket match-fixing scandals

On February 20, 2000, the Delhi Police got lucky. Kumar handed over his ‘compromised’ phone to a London-based friend, Sanjeev Chawla, who had just landed in Mumbai and checked into Hotel Taj Mahal, that was also the base of the South African cricket team. Chawla was now being snooped on by proxy.

From the chargesheet:

* Chawla stayed in the same hotel as South Africa team … Chawal provided phone to accused Hansie Cronje, which was purchased by accused Rajesh Kalra. The call details of the accused persons revealed that the frequency of calling each other became very high at the time of the matches.

Read | Police may summon T-Series’ Krishan, take Sanjeev Chawla to match venues

* While Sanjeev Chawla was in touch with Hansie Cronje, frequency of calls between him (Sanjeev Chawla) and his accomplishes Kishan Kumar, Rajesh Kalra, Sunil Dara@Bitto, increased manifold during the matches. This brings out the criminal intentions of the accused persons to fix matches in conspiracy with each other.

Sanjeev Chawla, Sanjeev Chawla extradition, 2000 cricket match-fixing scandal, 2000 match-fixing, Mohammad Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja, Ajay Sharma, Hansie Cronje, Herschelle Gibbs, indian express* Accused Krishan Kumar is speaking to Rajesh Kalra, saying that Sanjeev had asked for a phone with roaming facility, which should even work in Sharjah. This is to be seen in the context of the previous conversation between Sanjeev and Hansie Cronje, wherein Sanjeev had informed that the phone was not working and had asked for a roaming SIM card.

* In the entire conversation between Rajesh Kalra and Sanjeev Chawla, they discussed the previous matches played between India and South Africa and the perfomance of South African players.

* Investigations show that the main accused Sanjeev Chawla remained in constant touch with the South African captain Hansie Cronje at most of the venues of the matches.

* Rajesh Kalra and Krishan Kumar are talking about the meeting of Sanjeev Chawla with Hansie Cronje and also about the departure of Sanjeev Chawla to London.

* From other conversations between Sanjeev, Rajesh and other gambling racketeers it is clear that Sanjeev Chawla, Rajesh Kumar along with other satta operators in Delhi and Mumbai were engaged in fixing up the cricket matches prior to this game. In this manner Sanjeev has played a fraud on the public at large by deceiving them.

The Chawla-Cronje tapes

Chawla: Alright, and who all are with you…Hansie: Will finalise this evening, don’t worry

During the 2000 South Africa tour to India, Chawla and Cronje had several phone conversations, mostly about fixing games. Few transcripts of those calls from the Delhi Police’s chargesheet.

‘I can deposit money in your account’
Context: Ahead of the second ODI in Jamshedpur on 12 March, Chawla telephoned Cronje wanting more than just information – he wanted an actual influencing of the result.

Hansie: No no impossible, impossible
Hansie: No no they were saying that they were already doing Cochin, the other guys are already angry with me because I have not received their money you know.
Chawla: No but I told you but I have already given him altogether 60
Hansie: Ok
Chawla: And tomorrow I can deposit the money in your account. It is not a problem because of the time difference. Tomorrow itself I can deposit the money.
Hansie: Ok.

READ | Police may summon T-Series’ Krishan, take Sanjeev Chawla to match venues

‘Who is playing? Gibbs?
Context: Just before the fourth ODI in Vadodara on March 17th, they chat again.

Hansie: I had a look at the pitch today, it can turn big.
Chawla: Is Strydom playing?
Hansie: Yes, he is playing, yeah
Chawla: Boje?
Hansie: Boje is playing
Chawla: Yeah, Boje is playing… and who is playing? Gibbs?
Hansie: Gibbs and myself
Chawla: Ya what about anybody else:?
Hansie: I won’t be able to get more.
Chawla: Okay just tell me. But you have only four with you and not anybody else?
Hansie: No
Chawla: Klusener and no one?
Hansie: No. No. impossible, impossible.

‘If it is 249 it is off?’
Context: Before the final game in Nagpur on March 19th, Cronje sets details of the fix and details.

Hansie: I will give them some runs. It is a small ground and it is a quick outfield so they must get 280/290.
Chawla: What is the minimum that they should score
Hansie: 250
Chawla: Minimum is 250?
Hansie: Ok
Chawla: If it is 249 it is off?
Hansie: Yeah.
Chawla: Okay, so the deal stands on 250 or if it is 249 it is off?
Hansie: Yes.
Chawla: All right. And who all are with you?
Hansie: I will finalise that this evening, you see. You do not have to worry.
Chawla: Sorry?
Hansie: I would speak to the guys tonight and… but you do not have to worry.

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