Sunanda, Woolmer and Cronje: The Cricket Connection
         Date: 16-May-2018
A string of mysterious deaths, from Bob Woolmer to Hansie Cronje, surrounds the cricket betting syndicate. With the fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim and his cohorts being considered as running the betting racket across the globe, their tentacles are strong and deep. Was cricket behind the suicide (?) of Sunanda Pushkar?
When Sunanda Pushkar wife of then Union Minister Shashi Tharoor was found dead in a five star hotel in New Delhi on June 17, 2014, there were several reports that she was to reveal something to the media on the IPL and Cricket betting syndicates which was spoiling and taking the sheen of gentleman culture from the game, there was hue and cry that she was murdered. However, a charge sheet filed by the Delhi police recently has claimed that she committed suicide and her husband and former Union minister and present Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor had abetted her in committing suicide. Even if it was a case of suicide and if the Charge sheet given by the Delhi police is to be studied deeply, there is indeed a cricket connection to it as Sunanda was to get a sweat equity in the Kochi tusker’s team. The team which was floated by a consortium of businessmen had given the sweat equity to Sunanda following the lobbying of Tharoor for them, according to those who are privy to that which was done behind the curtains. Sunanda was to be benefitted and when the Tuskers team was disqualified and failed to be in the IPL, there emerged some discontent between Shashi and Lalit Modi.
Bob Woolmer’s death according to his friends and acquaintances is a clear murder which was substantiated by the Jamaican Police but was later denied and reported that it was a natural death. However, eyewitnesses including journalists who had reported the Ireland-Pakistan match in which the former had packed off the latter in the World Cup of 2007 had stated that his body resembled death owing to external influence. This lead, however, was never followed and the Jamaican police had then detained three Pakistani cricketers who were boarding a flight to London including the team’s captain Inzamam Ul Haq but was later let off.
Earlier in 2002, June 1, the former Captain of South Africa Hansie Cronje was killed in a Cargo Plane (AirQuaris) crash. Cronje was banned for life from International cricket after he revealed that he had indeed taken money from an Indian bookie for losing a one-day international match. However, Cronje who was an icon in South African cricket was to reveal something before he was silenced and those who frequent the route where his cargo plane crashed into a mountain reveals that the route was never a hazardous one.
The cricket betting racket has its roots deep into West Asia and Indian subcontinent with the fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim and his cohorts being considered as running the betting syndicate across the globe. The tentacles are strong and deep and there has to be detailed probe as to what happened to Sunanda and whether she committed suicide and what was Shashi’s role in it, other than abetting if it was a suicide and what was Shashi doing in Dubai after his UN stint and what his connection with the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan is and the revelations made by the former Union Minister for External Affairs and a former foreign secretary K.Natwar Singh on the Food for Oil programme conducted by the UN.