New Delhi, Mar 12: Allegations that the World Cup semifinal match between India and Pakistan last year were fixed were rubbished by players and those associated with the game even as a Bollywood actress at the centre of the fresh controversy threatened to sue a British newspaper which carried the report.
Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly found little substance in the report published in a London newspaper Sunday Times.
“I don't know how they have got the information but let me tell that India are world champions and nobody can take that away from us,” Ganguly told reporters here today.
The newspaper carried out a sting operation on a Delhi-based bookie, who claimed that the Indian bookmakers are fixing the results of England county games and international fixtures and they are using a Bollywood actress as a honeytrap to recruit players from countries.
The report also claimed that India's semi-final match in last year's World Cup was rigged.
Nupur Mehta, who has worked in Sunny Deol starrer ‘Jo Bole So Nihal' (2005), dismisses as baseless and false that she was involved in any match fixing.
She told PTI, “I have been accused of something that I have not done. All I would say is I am not guilty of any such thing.”
“The picture that they have used was taken during my film, ‘Jo Bole So Nihal',” she said.
The starlet was not named in the report but she has threatened to take legal action against the British daily. “I intend to take action against them.”
Meanwhile, BCCI has declined to comment on the report.
BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla, who is also the IPL Chairman, said unless they received something concrete from the ICC or any agency, they will not comment on the issue.
“Newspapers can publish anything, unless we get something concrete from an agency or ICC, I don't think it would be appropriate to react to it,” Shukla told reporters.
“We haven't got anything from ICC, unless we get it from some police agency, it would be inappropriate to react to media reports,” he reiterated.
Reacting to the allegations, former ICC President Ehsan Mani said he was “taking the report seriously”.
Mani suggested that the best way tackle the menace was to legalise betting and counselled that governments should take steps to regulate betting.
“ICC and cricket boards have not been able to get to the root cause (bookies) of the problem. So far it (betting) is underground. If you regulate it then you can have administrative control, you can monitor it and unusual pattern can be highlighted,” he said.
“There is no other way. A lot of money, close to 500-600 million, will be on bet during the next Asia Cup match between India and Pakistan,” he added.
The ICC is said to have launched an inquiry into the report, which suggested that the bookmakers offer thousands of pounds to the players. About 44,000 pounds to batsmen for slow scoring, 50,000 pounds for bowlers who concede runs and 750,000 pounds for a player or official who can guarantee a match outcome.
Just a few weeks ago former Essex bowler Mervyn Westfield became the first English cricketer to be jailed for corruption after he admitted taking money to fix a match against Durham in September 2009.
Last year, three Pakistan players—Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir—were jailed in Britain for ‘spot-fixing' in a 2010 Test match against England.
Nupur Mehta denies any role in match fixing.