Ali Irani, Physiotherapist of Indian Cricket team, stated that he
had been with the Indian Cricket team from 1987 to 1997, expect
for a gap of around 6 months in between. According to him. It was
in 1994, in the India-West Indies one-day international at Kanpur,
that everybody, for the first time, felt that something was wrong.
In fact match, Manoj Prabhakar and Nayan Mongia did not chase the
target and just played out the remaining balls.
to Dr. Irani, it looked as if they were batting to play out the
balls rather than winning the mach and passing necessary
instructions, was sitting in the dressing -room unmindful of what
was happening on the ground. Dr. Irani further stated that people
were so upset that one of the selectors, G. R. Vishwanath, even
came to the dressing room and shouted at Wadekar asking him
whether he knew what was going on and whether he had passed on any
the match was over, when Manoj Prabhakar came to the dressing
room, he said that Nayan Mongia had asked him to play out the
remaining balls, as that was the instruction from the dressing
room. When Nayan Mongia was asked about it, he said that he had
been told to say so but who had told him to say so, he could not
evening when the team was returning after dinner in a bus, Manoj
Prabhakar was abusing Wadekar and Azhar probably because he knew
that a decision to drop him and Nayan Mongia for the next two
matches had been taken.
Irani also stated that certain undesirable characters were gaining
entry into the dressing room. There was an instance of team
members, specially from the South in a Test Match against Sri
Lanka in 1996 strongly objecting to the presence of Ajay Sharma, a
former Indian player, in the dressing room.
Irani further stated that he also saw Ajay Sharma in Chandigarh
when the Indian Team was playing there. Ajay Sharma had brought
some bats for Azharuddin, but, during that match, Azhar was down
with fever and he could not play, so he left the place with Ajay
Sharma. It was well known that Ajay Sharma was very close to Azhar.
instance where Dr. Irani suspected the match was deliberately lost
was in the West Indies in 1997. The Indian team had to make only a
few runs, but in spite of a number of wickets in hand, they could
not make them and the manner in which the team played raised
suspicion. After the match, some of the boys blamed the loss due
to "a silly excuse" like "Voodoo" being
practiced by some locals on the field.
Irani categorically stated that he was not aware of the alleged
offer of Rs.25 lakhs made by Kapil Dev to Manoj Prabhakar to under
perform in Sri Lanka till the controversy appeared in the media a
couple of years back. He could not say whether the allegation was
Irani further stated that in the Indian Team, Nayan Mongia and
Manoj Prabhakar were good friends and so were Azhar and Ajay
Jadeja and Sidhu and Manoj Prabhakar. Initially, Ajay Jadeja was
also very close to Manoj Prabhakar. Dr. Irani had often seen Azhar
and Ajay Jadeja talking in hushed tones and very often he had
doubted that their conversation related to some
"hanky-panky" in the matches.
Ali Irani denied knowing any person by the name M.K. Gupta.
However, on being shown a photograph to him by Azhar as
"John" and not "M.K. Gupta", in a test match
in Ahmedabad in 1996. Later, when Azhar became closer to Dr. Irani,
he opened up and asked him to collect money on his behalf. Dr.
Irani told Azhar that he could not collect money on his behalf,
but if someone gave money for Azhar through him in his room he
would tell Azhar. Azhar then told him that "John" would
give him money and then this person "John" and his
representative (a guy from Bombay) gave him money for Azhar on a
number of occasions. Azhar would ring him or tell him in advance
that John would be sending money.
Irani, however, stated that he could not say how much money had
been transferred by John to Azhar, but each transaction was in
lakhs and some transactions were as high as Rs.10 to 15 lakhs. For
rendering this service Azhar used to pay Dr. Irani anywhere from
Rs.25,000/- to Rs.50,000/- on each occasion. Dr Irani further
stated that although he as a conduit for transfer of money from
John to Azhar, he did on each occasion tell Azhar that what he was
doing was not correct. However, his greed to be with the Indian
Team as a physiotherapist got the better of him.
On being asked as to which other players were involved with Azhar,
Dr. Irani stated that he thought that Ajay Jadeja, Nayan Mongia
and Manoj Prabhakar were also involved with Azhar in this matter.
He further stated that he had absolutely no doubt about the
involvement of Ajay Jadeja with Azhar as, in 1996, on day Ajay
Jadeja told him not to talk about 'such things' as he was no
longer into it. Dr. Irani suspected that he said this to him since
Ajay knew by that time that Azhar had confided in him as to what
was happening. Dr. Irani further stated that the bookies normally
approached the players individually and that often two players
would not even realise that they had been approached by the same
Irani further stated that if one studied the body language of the
players after a match, then at times, one could realise that a
particular player was involved in match fixing. There have been
occasions even when the Indian team had won, some players were not
happy after the match. In fact, in a match against Pakistan during
the 'Independence Cup' , the Indian team had won, but when the
camera focussed on Azhar, he did not appear happy. Noticing this,
the camera focussed on him for a considerable time. Dr. Irani
further stated that during the later stages, his relationship with
Azhar had come under strain because the latter objected to his
association with Sangeeta Bijlani.
Irani further stated that often one could tell from the reaction
of the players in the team meeting, prior to the match, about
their performance. He said this was especially true in the case of
Manoj Prabhakar and N.S. Sidhu. Whenever they spoke a lot in the
team meeting, he knew that they were not going to perform well in
the next match.
Irani stated that he had never heard anything adverse regarding
Tendulkar. In fact, in most of matches where fixing was taking
place, the clue was that the game would 'be on' only when
Tendulkar got out because he was one player who could
single-handedly win the match and upset any calculation.
being asked about the involvement of underworld in match fixing
and betting specially with reference to the involvement of Sharad
Shetty, Dr. Irani stated that although he did not have any
knowledge, once Azhar had told him that as he was doing matches
with Anees Ibrahim, he could not do with anyone else.
discussion of evidence (oral and documentary) against player)
ALI IRANI The CBI enquiry has disclosed that Dr Ali Irani, physio
of the Indian Team (between 1987 to 1997), acted as a conduit
between Mohd. Azharuddin and the betting syndicate. Evidence has
disclosed that Dr Ali Irani was collecting money on behalf of
Azhar from MK and his associates and that he used to get a
"commission" from Azhar for his service.
evidence against Dr Irani is discussed below.
has stated that Azharuddin had introduced him to Dr Irani during
the Ahmedabad Test against South Africa in 1996. Dr Ali Irani in
his statement has admitted that he was introduced to MK by
Azharuddin but knew him only as "John".
has further stated that Azharuddin had directed him to make
payments towards the matches he "did" for MK through Dr
Ali Irani. MK has also stated that on some occasions, money to
Azharuddin was paid through Dr Irani. Dr Irani has also admitted
that he accepted money from MK and his "representatives"
on behalf of Azharuddin on a number of occasions and some of the
transactions were to the tune of 10 to 15 laKH. This is also
corroborated by the statement of Anil Steel that on two occasions,
he had made payments to Ali Irani on behalf of MK.
Irani has also confessed that he used to get around Rs 25,000 to
Rs 50,000 on each occasion for rendering this service to
Azharuddin. However, Azharuddin was silent about Dr Ali Irani
during his examination.