Even as cricket struggles to come to terms with coronavirus pandemic, which has put the world on a halt, the prime accused in the 2000 Hansie Cronje match-fixing case, Sanjeev Chawla has dropped a bomb.
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In his disclosure statement to the Delhi Police, the London-based cricket bookmaker has reportedly claimed that "no cricket match is fairly played" and "…all the cricket matches which people see are fixed".
Chawala, who was extradited to India from the UK in February, is one of the main accused in the match-fixing scandal that also involved former South Africa captain late Hansie Cronje.
The Delhi-born bookmaker, as reported by Indian Express, said in a supplementary charge sheet submitted to the court that cricket matches are like "movies which are already being directed by someone".
Chawla, while also confessing that he was involved in match-fixing for many years, said he could not give more details since "a very big syndicate/underworld mafia is involved in this matter and they are dangerous people and if he says anything they will get him killed".
The report also added that Chawla had revealed before the police that the syndicate had on its target the case's investigation officer DCP (Crime Branch) Dr G Ram Gopal Naik and that his life was under threat.
On March 28, a Delhi court dismissed the bail application moved by Chawla. The bookie sought bail on the grounds that there is a threat of contracting coronavirus inside the "unhygienic" Tihar Jail.
Chawla had also claimed to have received life threats from various persons and said that the jail inmates made extortion demands from him.
But earlier this month, Chawla was granted bail by the court, saying the accused was in custody for the last 76 days and the probe was already completed in the case.
The court, however, directed him to give his voice sample and handwriting specimen to the investigating officer in the case.
Chawla was alleged to have played a central role in conspiring with Cronje to fix a South African tour to India in February-March, 2000.
The British court documents say that Chawla is a Delhi-born businessman who moved to the United Kingdom on a business visa in 1996 but continued to make trips to India.