Criminal Proceedings Against 'Bookie' Gupta Quashed

New Delhi
Criminal Proceedings Against 'Bookie' Gupta Quashed
The Delhi High Court has quashed criminal proceedings initiated by Enforcement Directorate for alleged FERA violation against a Delhi-based businessman who was named as an "influential bookie" and had paid a huge amount to late South Africa cricketer Hansie Cronje to fix ODIs between India and South Africa in 1996-1997.

Justice Hima Kohli, in a recent order, set aside the ACMM's March 2003 summoning order against Mukesh Gupta, and said that Gupta was discharged of all charges by ED's Foreign Exchange Regulation Act(FERA) appellate authority with regard to the money transaction done by him and no criminal case would be made out against him.

Gupta had approached the High Court seeking quashing of criminal proceedings initiated against him before a lower court in Delhi by ED.

CBI and ED's probe into the match-fixing allegations against Indian players, including Mohammad Azharuddin and Manoj Prabhakar, on a reference from the Sports Ministry had hinged very heavily on Gupta.

Gupta is also alleged to have got Cronje to throw away a match when India had toured South Africa. ED had moved the lower court against Gupta, citing certain findings against him by CBI.

After he was sacked on April 11, 2000, Cronje had claimed before the Edwin King Commission, probing the match fixing scandal, that Gupta was his link to various Indian players.

This was after Cronje, while confessing to his connection with bookmakers, told the King Commission that during the 1996 Kanpur test, Gupta had been introduced to him by Azharuddin, gave him 30,000 US Dollar to persuade the South Africans to lose wickets on the last day to throw away the match. India eventually won the match.

Gupta had contended before the court in his petition that the recommendations and findings of guilt by a foreign commission were only "recommendatory" in nature and not binding on Indian courts.
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