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May 27, 2001

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ICC support welcome in telecast rights case: CBI

CBI today said it would welcome any support from International Cricket Council (ICC) into the investigations into the cricket telecast rights case and other matters arising out of the match-fixing scandal.

Mark Mascarenhas "We are always in touch with the anti-corruption branch of ICC in this regard and look forward to any support from them which is very crucial to our investigation into the telecast rights case and other matters arising out of the match-fixing scandal," CBI Director P C Sharma told PTI here.

CBI on November eight registered five cases against some Doordarshan officials for allegedly cheating the Prasar Bharti of crores of rupees in award of telecast rights for cricket matches.

The five cases relate to alleged bunglings in telecast rights for 1997 Independence Cup, ICC Knock-out tournament in 1998 played in Dhaka and the World Cup in 1999.

The CBI alleged that some officials of Doordarshan had entered into a criminal conspiracy with the Bangalore-based WorldTel and Delhi-based Stracon India and dishonestly enhanced the bid for the telecast of the tournament.

Referring to the alleged nexus between betting syndicates and underworld, Sharma said "we are still looking into whether there is any link between match-fixing syndicate and organised crime syndicate in the country and abroad."

Former Director of CBI R K Raghavan had sought help from other state police departments and central intelligence agencies in this matter.

Asked to comment on the recent report on match-fixing by Sir Paul Condon, head of Anti-Corruption Unit, Sharma said "it is gratifying to know that ICC has appreciated the investigation done by the CBI in the match-fixing scandal."

The ICC report on match-fixing, unveiled in London on May 23, voiced grave concern over corrupt practices in international cricket and pledged its support to CBI in probing the links between organised crime and match-fixers.

The CBI on May four last year registered a Prelimnary Enquiry (PE) on instruction from the Union Sports Ministry. The agency later submitted a 164-page report to the then Sports Minister S S Dhindsa on October 31.

The CBI hopes that the ICC's efforts would lead to further probe into the role of nine foreign players, who were not investigated by the agency.

Photograph: Jewella C Miranda

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