Delhi tabloid MidDay has featured an interview with cricket photographer Dheeraj Dikshit, in which he alleges that Pakistani actor Veena Malik, presently a contestant in Bigg Boss 4, used to boast that she 'managed' at least seven Pakistani cricketers.
According to the MidDay interview, Dikshit says: "She claimed to manage seven Pakistani cricketers and said she could strike a deal for fixing matches with their help. She did not name the players but told me that if I so wished, we could do a big deal. In January she told me the results of Pakistan's upcoming series with Australia, Sri Lanka and England in August. Her predictions came out true. She told me Pakistan was already on a tour and all the matches had been fixed there."
From his Pitampura residence in Delhi, Dikshit hits back at the Pakistani actress, who had alleged that he used to fix matches along with her ex-boyfriend pacer Mohammad Asif.The report says, the latest accusations could land Veena in trouble in India.
Dikshit, who had been accused of being involved in spot-fixing by Malik, has claimed that Veena Malik is a bookmaker. Dikshit says he has written to the Ministry of External Affairs, demanding the cancellation of Malik's visa.
"It was in the month of January that I got a call from Veena Malik. I was in Dhaka at the time. I have never met her but she was trying to be very friendly. Before calling me she tried to get in touch with me by calling at the Delhi number which my wife answered. She made several calls asking for me, so my wife gave her my Dhaka number. Although I was talking to her for the first time, she started flirting with me as she is doing now with her co-contestants on Bigg Boss," Dikshit told MidDay.
Dikshit accepts he was close to pace bowler Mohammed Asif, Malik's ex-boyfriend, professionally, as he was with other Pakistani and Indian cricketers. But he never spoke to him about fixing. "Veena Malik knew I was good friends with Asif and I have a good reputation among the who's who of the fraternity.
Dikshit says he was curious to see her confidence and so he tried to trace their modus operandi. "While talking to me she was saying someone called 'Maz' was a friend of hers and he knew everyone. It was a while later that I realised that 'Maz' is Mazhar Majeed. He used to get endorsement deal for the players from some unknown companies which was actually the fixing amount under another name," he alleged.
Veena Malik had earlier claimed that she had the details of the SMSes between Dikshit and Asif. Dixit showed MidDay the content of the 16 test messages he had sent to the Pakistani pacer. "I had sent 16 SMSes; eight each on his two mobile numbers. All the SMSes were in professional context," he said.
Dikshit is back in India and is consulting his lawyers about to suing Veena Malik. But he realizes that she being a Pakistani national and with no treaty between New Delhi and Islamabad, he is going down a tricky path. "I cannot sue her from India, so I may file a case against her from London. After tainting my image and using the fixing controversy, Veena has made an entry in Bigg Boss against which I have filed a police complaint in Mumbai and have also written to the external affairs ministry to cancel her visa," said Dixit.
Dikshit also claims that Veena has high level contacts. He allegedly received threat calls from an unknown number while he was in London because of which he had to hire private security guards. Even in India, he claims, his family had been receiving calls from Pakistan and Kashmir, threatening to kill him, on his mobile number 9818935596 which he had to discontinue.
The entire controversy has also hit Dikshit professionally. "I am getting support messages from everyone but the scandal has affected me. I am feeling uncomfortable coming back to the field as my name has been tarnished. All the people associated with the controversy are being questioned by investigating agencies but there is no complaint against me and no one has come to interrogate me about the matter," Dikshit said.
Veena's colourful background:
Veena Malik is a Pakistani actress, model and comedian. She has established herself as one of the leading women in the Pakistani television and film industry with her abilities to mimic others and improvise. Her nude pictures were being circulated on the Internet and became an issue of debate by the end of 2001.
She repeatedly denied that she had ever appeared in any such photo shoots. She was accused in 2004 of being involved in indecent acts by one of her co-stars. In 2009, media reports alleged that Malik has married cricketer, Mohammad Asif in a court in London, England. However, this was denied by both of them, despite pictures revealing their affection towards each other.
In April 2010, it was widely speculated in the media, that Malik provided escort services to cricketer Mohammad Asif in 2008, for which she demanded a large sum of around 13 million PKR ($153,000) and wanted to escalate the claim to court.
In August-September 2010, Malik claimed that her former boyfriend Mohammad Asif has links with bookies and handed over evidence about Asif's contacts with Indian bookmakers to the International Cricket Council. Currently she can be seen as an inmate in the reality TV show Bigg Boss-4
Who is Dheeraj Dikshit?
A senior photographer, who claims to have known Dikshit from close quarters, requesting anonymity, had told MiD DAY he maintained equipment that even people with bigger affiliations and greater experience cannot afford.
"Most of the times I have spotted him clicking photographs at either matches that are played in Delhi or matches that involved Pakistan. He has accreditation from a Chhattisgarh-based magazine 'Just Sports' but maintain a high-end camera," the senior photographer said.
He also claimed that in a very short span of time, Dikshit who owned a LIG flat in Janakpuri in west Delhi, bought a bungalow in north Delhi and amassed properties in Chandigarh and London. "I don't know how a man in his position can afford to manage all this."
A senior television cricket journalist said, "I know Dikshit for long now. He used to sell pictures to media houses and corporate houses, which he used to click during matches. How come only he was approached by Veena Malik or any other bookie, is something beyond comprehension. Even if he was contacted by Malik, as he claims, why did he not tell the ICC?"