London: To purge cricket of corruption, the nexus between ruthless South Asian crime lords and cricketers must be broken, a former judge earlier involved with investigations of match-fixing in Pakistan has said.
Malik Mohammad Qayyum, who was appointed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in 1998 to investigate match-fixing told The Times: "The most serious corruption in cricket is carried out with the connivance of the sub-continent`s most brutal underworld dons."
A report he submitted to the PCB in 2000 referred to a case where an underground Pakistani bookmaker had been hacked into small pieces.
"These are the actions of ruthless men," he told the newspaper. Only in serious organised crime do you see such things."
The first major allegations came in 1994 when the then captain Saleem Malik was accused of fixing matches and even offering money to rival players such as Shane Warne and Mark Waugh to under-perform during Australia`s tour of Pakistan. He was banned in 2000 after an inquiry by Justice Malik Muhammad Qayyum. Even celebrated stars like Wasim Akram have had their share of corruption controversies.
According to the report, for years the most feared kingpin in cricket match-fixing and illegal betting has been Dawood Ibrahim, an Indian-born gangster now believed to be in Karachi.
He made his name as the head of D-Company, a 5,000-member crime syndicate that operates mostly in India, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates, and is one of the world`s most wanted men.
In 2005, his daughter, Mahrukh, married Junaid Miandad, the son of Javed Miandad, the former Pakistan cricket captain, in Dubai.
Dawood Ibrahim began his career in the 1970s as a small-time gold smuggler before branching out into narcotics, human trafficking and contract killing, according to a recent report by the US Government.
US intelligence services believe he has links with al-Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Toeba, the terrorist faction that carried out the gun attacks in Mumbai in 2008.
He is thought to run one of the world`s largest narcotics smuggling operations, which incorporates Britain, and is accused of having masterminded and financed the Mumbai bombings in 1993, which claimed 250 lives.
More recently, Ibrahim is thought to have taken a step back from cricket match fixing and illegal betting, but members of his cohort - which includes the veteran gangster Tiger Memon, another Indian also accused in the 1993 Mumbai blasts - are still believed to exert a huge influence.