High Court upholds acquittal of businessman for match-fixing charges

Mr Rajendar Prasad Rai was alleged to have conspired with his nephew to fix the results of six matches played in Europe in 2013 and 2014.
Mr Rajendar Prasad Rai was alleged to have conspired with his nephew to fix the results of six matches played in Europe in 2013 and 2014.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A businessman accused of match-fixing walked out of court a free man on Tuesday (April 3) after the High Court upheld his acquittal last year by a district court.

Mr Rajendar Prasad Rai, 44, was alleged to have conspired with his nephew, Mr Shree Manish Kalra, to fix the results of six matches played in Europe in 2013 and 2014.

Mr Manish, then 22, implicated Mr Rajendar and himself in statements to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB).

But during Mr Rajendar's trial, he retracted the statements in court, claiming that he had lied to the authorities to "fix" his uncle.

In July last year, after a trial of more than 30 days, a district judge acquitted Mr Rajendar of all six match-fixing charges, finding reasonable doubt in the evidence of Mr Manish, who was the key witness.

The district judge noted that there was no independent and objective evidence that the six matches were indeed fixed as the prosecution had relied solely on Mr Manish's statements to paint Mr Rajendar as a match-fixer.

The duo were alleged to have fixed the results of the six friendly matches through picking specific match officials for the games.

However, there were no probes conducted into any of the matches by Fifa, Uefa or any other government or football authority, and neither was any action taken against parties concerned nor was anyone called as witnesses.

Mr Manish, a law graduate, was given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal two months after he sought to retract his statements to the CPIB in October 2015.

After Mr Rajendar was cleared of all charges, the prosecution appealed.

On Tuesday, Justice Hoo Sheau Peng dismissed the appeal, saying there were insufficient grounds to overturn the district judge's decision.