Former Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar
Former Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar.IANS

A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team is currently in London to bring back bookie Sanjeev Chawla, who allegedly roped in many big cricketers like late South African skipper Hansie Cronje and ended their careers.

What no one knows till this day is that Chawla's racket in the betting scandal was revealed after years of toil by the former CBI Joint Director Neeraj Kumar, who recovered the files related to the worst scandal to hit world cricket, that were buried deep in dusty police cupboards for almost 13 years.

In an exclusive chat with IANS, Neeraj Kumar said: "Chawla's name first came to light in 2000-01 when Delhi Police busted the betting racket that involved international cricketers."

A court of inquiry was set up by the Delhi Police and Cronje admitted to throwing matches. He was immediately banned from all forms of cricket. He also named Saleem Malik (Pakistan), Mohammed Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja (India).

Two South African cricketers, Herschelle Gibbs and Nicky Boje, were also listed as wanted by the Delhi Police for their role in the scandal. Cronje died in a plane crash in 2002.

Kumar said: "In 2013, when I was the Police Commissioner of the city, I decided to check files related to cricket betting racket, said the former cop.

"But was surprised to know that the files were missing and since the beginning of this case around 12-13 inspectors were changed. Nothing could be worse than that.

"Then I decided to find out all the missing files."

"With only a few days left in my retirement, I talked to then Special Commissioner of Police Dharmendra Kumar and Joint Commissioner Alok Kumar (now retired). I told them that I am going to retire on July 31, 2013 and I want those files before I go," Neeraj Kumar recalled.

"I was determined to file a charge sheet against Chawla and both Dharmendra Kumar and Alok Kumar proved 'dark horses' for me," he said.

"Then we together started searching files. We called our officers and asked them to follow instructions strictly, and find those files anyhow.

"Thereafter, we started getting the records one by one. One will be surprised to know that we also recovered files from the almirahs of probe officers," Neeraj Kumar said.

He said: "After we got the files, there was a big challenge of re-starting the probe. I cannot forget the help that Dharmendra and Alok has provided.

"I very much remembered that I signed on the charge sheet against Chawla on the day of my retirement, it was my last project in service.

"Now, my initiative will be fulfilled as the CBI team is in London to bring back Chawla," he concluded.