Calcutta, Feb. 1: It’s not known whether the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has made a quiet move, but its silence on the Ajay Jadeja issue has left many baffled.
“The CBI’s investigation into match-fixing effectively set in motion the five-year ban eventually slapped by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), in December 2000. And, now that a Delhi high court-appointed arbitrator has set that aside, the CBI should be saying something at least. The agency must defend its investigation,” is how a well-placed source put it this afternoon.
Speaking to The Telegraph, the source added: “It isn’t just that the CBI’s indictment was so severe. After all, BCCI commissioner K. Madhavan, who conducted his own inquiry, was guided by the evidence collected by the CBI. In effect, then, the arbitrator has nullified the agency’s rather sensational findings.”
Earlier this week, Justice (retd) J.K. Mehra, the arbitrator, quashed the ban imposed by the BCCI — technically, by its then disciplinary committee — and tore into Madhavan’s report, which formed the basis of the BCCI’s action.
The BCCI, of course, now has 84 days (the countdown began on January 27) to ‘respond’ appropriately. While legal opinion is being sought, Justice Mehra’s action has already triggered an internal debate.
Given the sensitivity, it’s too early to say anything, but while some feel the award (enforceable after 90 days) ought not to be challenged, others are quite firm about doing exactly that. Apparently, the club-match fiasco the other day, featuring Jadeja, has infuriated the latter lobby even more.
With 27 months having passed since the government went public with the CBI’s report, not many may remember its “conclusions” specific to Jadeja (page 159), a former stand-in captain. Actually, the CBI left nothing unsaid.
The “conclusions” read: “Ajay Jadeja is very close to some bookies and big-time punters, namely Uttam Chand (a.k.a. Topi), Rattan Mehta, Rajesh Kalra and Krishan Kumar (implicated in the Hansie Cronje case). He gave ‘assessment’ of cricket matches to Rattan Mehta, a big-time punter. He also passed on ‘information’ to bookie Uttam Chand (a.k.a. Topi), for monetary considerations. He also met M.K. Gupta and offered his services for fixing matches and received money from M.K. at that meeting. He is also named by Mohammed Azharuddin as one of the players who was with him in fixing matches.”
Incidentally, Madhavan, a former CBI director, had this to say in his “final” opinion: (1) He (Jadeja) had very close undesirable contacts and objectionable nexus with various bookies/punters; (2) He is guilty of unbecoming conduct and misconduct as a national-level player on account of his maintaining such frequent contacts as set out above with bookies/punters.”
For the record, the BCCI will be taking Madhavan’s opinion too into account when finalising its ‘response’ to Justice Mehra. Whatever his present stand, the one-time sleuth will pretty much be the cynosure.