In a sensational revelation at a seminar in Mumbai in Saturday, former commissioner of Delhi Police Neeraj Kumar said the BJP-led NDA government had put an abrupt end to the 2000 cricket match-fixing investigations after the CBI had filed its report on the basis of an intercepted conversation between a bookie and former South African skipper Hansie Cronje. According to a report in the Times of India on Sunday, Kumar, who was a DGP with the CBI in 2000, said the government had "shut" the probe without giving any explanation.
"After we (CBI) had submitted our first report, a whole lot of work needed to be done, but the government then decided...this far and no further, because all kinds of skeletons were tumbling out and cricket is a religion in India," Kumar said during a seminar in Mumbai. Kumar, who handled the IPL 6 spot-fixing case this year, said: "If you see the CBI report on the net, it says further inquiry will continue. It didn't continue because it would have meant a lot of other dirt would have come to the surface," Kumar said.
The match-fixing scandal shook the cricketing world after Cronje, who later died in a plane crash, confessed to fixing games in return for money. The BCCI also banned former skipper Mohammed Azharuddin and batsman Ajay Sharma for life after the CBI report became public. Ajay Jadeja and Manoj Prabhakar's careers were ruined after they were banned for five years each. World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev was also engulfed in the scandal but got a clean chit from the CBI.
Kumar, who wants stronger laws to curb match-fixing, said the order by the NDA government was a mistake. Saying he got "requests" not to quiz certain bookies, Kumar said: "I'll be very honest. I don't know what exactly went on in the minds of people who took that decision, but it should have continued. Unless we come to know what is wrong with us, we cannot go about correcting our mistakes."
The former top cop also said Delhi Police has enough evidence to nail the cricketers allegedly involved with spot-fixing in IPL this year, but the case may suffer due to delays. Former Test bowler Sreesanth has already been banned for life by the BCCI.