Cricket: India police file first charges in fixing scandal that took place 13 years ago

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Indian police filed charges on Monday over a match-fixing scandal involving the late South African captain Hansie Cronje, 13 years after the revelations sent shockwaves through the cricketing world.

Police filed the charges in a New Delhi court against bookmakers and Cronje himself, who died in a plane crash in 2002, over allegations of fixing dating back to South Africa's tour of India in 2000.

The charges are the first by Indian police over the scandal, which revealed the shady world of Indian bookmakers in cricket.

"There are six accused in this case, three of them are on bail while two are abroad," Inspector Keshav Kumar told the court. "The sixth is Hansie Cronje, who is dead."

Cronje, once the darling of South African cricket, was banned from the sport for life after admitting taking thousands of dollars in bribes from bookies in exchange for providing match information and influencing games during the 2000 tour.

Delhi police have alleged that Cronje persuaded some of his team-mates, including Herschelle Gibbs, to agree to underperform in a one-day match in 2000, including by making fewer runs than he might otherwise have tallied.

Gibbs and bowler Henry Williams were both banned from playing for six-months and fined by South African authorities over their admissions in the scandal.

The scandal broke when New Delhi police, working on an unrelated extortion case, tapped a telephone conversation between Cronje and one of the bookies, Sanjeev Chawla.

Chawla is believed to be living in the UK and Indian police hope to seek his extradition now that the charge sheet has been placed before the court.

Police named the accused as bookmakers and gamblers Rajesh Kalra, Krishan Kumar and Sunil Dara - who are all on bail - and Chawla and Manmohan Khattar who are overseas.

Cronje died in June 2002 when a light plane in which he was travelling crashed in bad weather in South Africa.

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