New Delhi: West Indies all-rounder Marlon Samuels gave confidential information about his team to a bookie who has links with the underworld, said the Nagpur Police on Wednesday.
Police claimed they have taped phone conversations between Samuels and bookie Mukesh Kochar, an alleged associate of don Dawood Ibrahim's gang.
Samuels allegedly spoke to Kochar several times over telephone from the Hotel Pride in Nagpur and tipped him about the batting line-up and the bowling order during the India-West Indies match in Nagpur on January 21. India won the match by 14 runs.
The Nagpur Police have sent a report to Shashank Manohar, Vice-President of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and the International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption Unit.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Amitesh Kumar said: "we have no evidence about financial commitments made", but in the report to BCCI his department claims there is "definitive proof in telephone conversations."
"Samuels had contacted the bookie about three times. He gave the bookie the details about bowling order in the second half. He also told him that he will be staying in Mumbai after the tour and Samuels did indeed stay back in Mumbai," said Kumar.
The police have not made allegations against any other player and there is no indication that Samuels under-performed during the series. In fact, Samuels batted well and scored 60 runs.
“The conversation doesn’t give an indication that there is unwillingness on the part of the player or that he would inform the team manager. It’s the third time that the discussion is being held and it gave an indication that the caller knows that they will be fielding. He knows and is asking for the fielding details,” said the Senior Superintendent of Police in Nagpur.
A spokesperson for the West Indies Cricket Board has said the Board was aware of the allegations, but had received no formal information from the ICC or the BCCI. It would begin an investigation after receiving a formal word.
BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla called the incident unfortunate. “The Nagpur Police sent a letter on Wednesday to the Vidarbha cricket association and it has details about the conversation between the bookie and the West Indian player. BCCI president (Sharad Pawar) has spoken to the Nagpur Police Commissioner,” he said.
"It’s very unfortunate that such kinds of reports are coming before the World Cup. We take it very seriously and find it unfortunate,” said Shukla.
The BCCI has reasons to be worried: Indian captain Mohammed Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma were banned for life, and all-rounders Manoj Prabhakar and Ajay Jadeja given five-year bans over match fixing allegations.
Former Australian players Shane Warne and Mark Waugh were penalised for leaking information to an Indian bookmaker in 1994.
In 2000, former South Africa skipper Hansie Cronje accepted to have taken money from Indian bookies and asked his team to under-perform in an ODI series in India.
With Piyush Pushpak in Nagpur, Sanjeeb Mukherjea