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Samuels linked to Dawood bookie

Mumbai/ Nagpur, Feb. 7: The match that Calcutta won’t forget has burst back into the spotlight.

West Indies all-rounder Marlon Samuels has been caught talking to bookie Mukesh Kochchar a day before the Nagpur match that India won by 14 runs, police said. Nagpur police claim Kochchar is a Dawood Ibrahim man and shuttles between Mumbai and Dubai.

The police said they have not come across any evidence of match-fixing till now. The Nagpur one-dayer on January 21 saw Sourav Ganguly make a cracker of a comeback with 98 runs.

Samuels told a television channel tonight that “I know Kochchar” but was unaware that he was a bookie.

Deputy commissioner of police Amitesh Kumar said Samuels gave out information on the batting and bowling line-ups of his team. But Kumar added: “We have no evidence about (any) financial commitment made”.

The anti-corruption unit of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) have been sent letters by the police giving proof of telephone conversations.

“We have no information about fixing the match. We have team information being passed. There were certain promises made,” Kumar added. “It is basically certain confidential team details that were passed on.”

The letter said Samuels’ behaviour was in violation of the code of conduct. He was staying in room No. 206 of Hotel Pride, where both the Indian and the West Indian teams were put up.

Kumar said the police commissioner had sent a report to BCCI vice-president Shashank Manohar, who is based in Nagpur, and to the Indian representative in the ICC anti-corruption unit this evening.

However, BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah denied that the board had received the report.

ICC spokesperson Brian Murgatroyd said: “I am not aware of any such report reaching the ICC. And as a policy, we don’t comment on or make public activities of the anti-corruption unit.”

Police sources said they had picked up some bookies on the eve of the match and during investigations found that they were talking to a West Indian player. Samuels’ mobile was tapped and he was found to be in regular touch with Kochchar.

This is Nagpur’s second brush with a cricket scandal. The first was in 2000 when Hansie Cronje admitted to have offered bribes to teammates to under-perform during a match in Nagpur.

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