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The BBC's Fergal Parkinson in Delhi
"Despite being illegal almost everybody in India bets on cricket"
 real 28k

Thursday, 27 April, 2000, 14:54 GMT 15:54 UK
India to probe match-fixing

The meeting was attended by top cricket stars
The Indian Government has said it will launch its own probe into allegations of cricket match-fixing.

The decision was announced after a special meeting of officials from the government and Indian cricket board, as well as some of the country's cricket stars.


I promise we will get to the bottom of the matter

Sports Minister SS Dhindsa
It follows an earlier investigation by the cricket board conducted over two years ago, which absolved any Indian cricket player of any wrongdoing.

Allegations of corruption in cricket erupted earlier this month, after the captain of the South African team, Hansie Cronje, admitted to accepting money from an Indian bookmaker for "forecasting" results.

Clean-up

The closed-door meeting was held in the Indian capital, Delhi, and lasted three hours.

Later, the Sports Minister, Sukhdev Dhindsa, said the government had decided to launch an investigation.

The only thing that remained to be decided was whether it would be handed to the country's premier investigation agency, the CBI, or to an inquiry committee headed by a Supreme Court judge.


Sports Minister Dhindsa has ordered a probe
"I promise we will get to the bottom of the matter," he told journalists.

"If any players are found guilty they will be punished," he said.

"I also want players and officials to voluntarily declare their assets so there is no suspicion in the minds of the people," Mr Dhindsa said.

Allegations

The meeting was attended by leading stars of the current as well as former teams.

They included superstar Sachin Tendulkar, former captain Mohammad Azharuddin as well as Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi and Bishen Singh Bedi.

"It is very important that we must clean up our house first before we point fingers at anybody," Bishen Singh Bedi said.

There has been considerable speculation in the Indian media of the involvement of players in illegal betting and match-fixing.

Outlook magazine named a number of Indian players and said there was evidence to suggest they had received money from bookmakers.

The allegation was denied.

Earlier this month, Delhi police charged four players of the South African national team - Hansie Cronje, Pieter Strydom, Nicky Boje and Herschelle Gibbs with "cheating, fraud and criminal conspiracy".

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