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Scandal sucks in Robin, Singh or Son

Feb. 8: Former India player Robin Singh was dragged into the Marlon Samuels-bookie scandal today by the Maharashtra police chief, who diluted the allegation moments later saying he couldn’t be sure of the name.

Hours earlier, Nagpur police had said they had no evidence of match-fixing by Samuels, nor of links between any other Indian or Caribbean player and bookie Mukesh Kochchar.

Samuels allegedly tipped Kochchar — whom the player’s mother today described as his friend of six years — over the phone on his team’s bowling plans on the eve of the January 21 one-dayer in Nagpur.

“In the transcript, Samuels is asked if he spoke to Robin Singh. He says something that is confusing,” director-general of police P.S. Pasricha said.

“It is not clear (if) it is ‘Robin Singh’ or ‘Robinson’. We have not contacted (him). It’s up to the Nagpur police commissioner to decide.”

Asked about this, the West Indies-born Robin told a news channel in Chennai “I have no idea. I have no clue”, before driving away. He had his mobile switched off tonight.

Nagpur police chief S.P.S. Yadav said no case had been lodged against Samuels. “(Giving) mere information is not a criminal violation. We have to get prima facie evidence of match-fixing or monetary transaction to make a case.”

The International Cricket Council and the Indian board, however, were informed that Samuels had broken Rule C-3 of the ICC code that bars players from talking to bookies.

Samuel’s mother Daphne Lunan told the Jamaica Observer: “This is a long-time friendship, over six years now. (It all started) when Marlon had a foot injury…. Kochchar called him and encouraged him.”

Lunan said: “He (Kochchar) called me all the time. He is a big man and he always said Marlon must call him or he would call Marlon — that’s how I got to know him.”

Yadav said the police had been tipped off that bookies could phone Samuels in his hotel room. The player, he said, told the late-night caller from Faridabad he would be the first-change bowler — which he was.

The UAE-based Kochchar told news channels: “The voice on the tape is mine. I am not a bookie. I know (Kamal Kishore) Chaddha (a Dawood Ibrahim henchman), but have no links with Dawood.”

Cricket sources said Kochchar was associated with a cricket talent hunt show, and wanted Samuels and team-mate Chris Gayle to appear on it. The two Jamaicans cited the engagement to stay back in Mumbai after their team left at the end of the series. It’s not clear if they shot for the show, which has Robin as a selector.

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