'Who doesn't bet on cricket?', says Samuels' contact
by Cricket Archive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 10th February 2007
The alleged bookmaker with links to West Indian cricketer Marlon
Samuels said on Friday he was ready to be investigated because he had
done nothing wrong.
Mukesh Kochar, speaking by phone to several Indian television stations,
denied he was a cricket bookie but admitted to knowing Samuels who was
"like a son" to him.
"I am not a bookie," said Kochar, adding he was an Indian businessman
based in Dubai where he was taking calls from reporters. "I know Marlon
for some years now. He is like a son to me. I spoke to him after all
this started. Like me, he is also shocked."
Police in the central Indian city of Nagpur stunned the cricket world
late Wednesday when they accused Samuels of passing on team information
to Kochar, described by them as a well-known cricket bookie.
Police said they had taped conversations between the two ahead of the
first of four one-day internationals between India and the West Indies
in Nagpur on January 21.
The police stressed they had no evidence that money had changed hands,
but Samuels faces a life ban from cricket if the allegations of any
wrongdoing are proved.
Indian cricket officials have passed on the police report to the
Dubai-based International Cricket Council (ICC) whose anti-corruption
unit is investigating.
Kochar said he will co-operate with any inquiry conducted by the ICC.
"If they contact me, I will be the first person to help them out," he
told the news channels. "I am willing to visit them whenever. My heart
Asked if he bet on cricket, Kochar retorted: "Who doesn't bet on
cricket? It's a different matter whether I am into punting or not."
When confronted on why he wanted team information from Samuels, Kochar
said: "I only wanted to encourage Samuels to do better. As I have
explained I have advised Samuels as a friend and as a father (figure)."
Kochar also dismissed police claims he had links with underworld figure
Dawood Ibrahim, India's most wanted man accused to masterminding the
1993 Mumbai blasts that left 257 dead and many injured.
"That is not correct," he said. "Who doesn't know him by his name?
Every day on TV and newspapers you see his name."
Police said they were keeping a watch on a house in Gurgaon on the
outskirts of New Delhi which they claimed was owned by Kochar.
Jamaican Samuels, 26, who has played 23 Tests and 83 one-dayers for the
West Indies, has also denied any wrongdoing while admitting he knew
"I don't do such things man," Samuels was quoted as saying from the
Caribbean by Indian media. "I have not done anything wrong. The West
Indies Cricketers' Association will take up the matter if necessary. I
don't think Kochar's a bookie. I usually talk about cricket but don't
give out any such information."
The controversy comes a month before cricket's showpiece event, the
World Cup, begins in the Caribbean on March 13.
Cricket was embroiled in a match-fixing scandal in 2000 that led to
three former national team captains, Hansie Cronje of South Africa,
Mohammad Azharuddin of India and Salim Malik of Pakistan, being banned