Cronje match-fixing case: Court takes cognizance of charges

New Delhi: A Delhi court Tuesday took cognizance of cheating and conspiracy offences mentioned in a charge sheet filed in a 13-year-old cricket match fixing case, involving late South African captain Hansie Cronje.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Amit Bansal took cognizance of the charge sheet filed Monday by Delhi Police which said Cronje was paid Rs.1.2 crore in two instalments for fixing matches 13 years back.

In the charge sheet, names of Cronje`s team mates Herschelle Gibbs and Nicky Boje have been left out.

Police named Cronje, who was killed in a plane crash in 2002, and five others, including Kishan Kumar, the brother of T-Series music company`s founder Gulshan Kumar who was killed in Mumbai.

Apart from Cronje and Kishan Kumar, London-based bookie Sanjeev Chawla, bookie Manmohan Khattar, Delhi-based bookie Rajesh Kalra and Sunil Dara alias Bittoo have also been named as accused.

The court also issued summons for Oct 25 to Kalra, Kishan Kumar and Sunil Dara, who are at present out on bail in the case.

"In view of the submissions and record, cognizance of the offences under section 420 (cheating)/120-B (criminal conspiracy) IPC is taken. Issue summons to accused number 1, 2, 3 (Kalra, Kishan Kumar and Sunil Dara) with notice to their respective sureties through the investigating officer for next date of hearing," the court said.

The court would next hear the matter Oct 25.

The court abated the proceedings against Cronje, who was indicted by the Kings Commission of Inquiry in South Africa to probe the match fixing scandal, in view of his death.

No other cricketer has been named in the charge sheet.

The crime branch of Delhi Police in April 2000 stumbled upon the match-fixing scandal when they intercepted calls of a London-based bookie.

During the hearing, police told the court that Kalra, Kishan Kumar and Sunil Dara were out on bail while two other accused, Chawla and Khattar, residents of Britain and the US, were hiding there.

Police said open non-bailable warrants have already been issued against Chawla and Khattar.

Soon steps would be taken to start the process for proclaiming the two as absconders and their extradition, police said.

The charge sheet said Gibbs had accepted before the Kings Commission that he was offered money by Cronje for under-performance while Boje denied his involvement.