Officers Assigned To IPL Teams And Players Suspended In Wake Of Spot-Fixing Scandal
In the wake of the spot-fixing scandal that has rocked the Indian Premier League, the organizers of the T20 tournament have "stepped up security for the remaining four teams by providing them officers from its Anti-Corruption and Security Unit," according to the PTI. Both Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, "who are in the capital for the first play-off match, were on Monday provided an officer each." They "are scheduled to face-off on Tuesday at the Feroz Shah Kotla." The other two teams, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals, "who are scheduled to arrive in Delhi on Tuesday, have also been allotted an officer each." An official from one of the franchises said, "According to what we have been told, the officer will stay with the team, travel with us and will work with the team security in-charge" (PTI, 5/20). The PTI also reported the Rajasthan Royals on Monday "terminated the contract of the three players -- including India pacer S. Sreesanth -- arrested on charges of spot-fixing in the ongoing IPL besides filing an FIR against the tainted trio." Rajasthan Royals Chair Ranjit Barthakur said, "Based on the information provided by the authorities, the contracts of all three players have been suspended pending enquiry" (PTI, 5/20). The PTI also reported a public interest litigation has been filed on Monday in the Supreme Court seeking setting up of a Special Investigation Team to probe spot-fixing "and other alleged irregularities in IPL." The petitioner by a Lucknow resident has made all IPL franchises and the Board of Control for Cricket in India party "in the case along with the Centre" (PTI, 5/20).
BLAME GAME: The Indian BUSINESS STANDARD's Gireesh Babu wrote a cricket fan from Chennai "has lodged a complaint with the City Police Commissioner against the three Rajasthan Royals players," alleging that the players have caused a wrongful loss to him as a paid spectator. The complaint also pointed a finger at the Cricket Board, "based on suspicion." In his complaint filed Monday, business man K.P. Ramakrishnan said that the cricket players have criminally breached the trust of the cricket fans, and besides cheating, "they have gained wrongfully and caused a wrongful loss to the cricket fans and paid spectators" (BUSINESS STANDARD, 5/20). In Mumbai, Ajay Kanth wrote top police officials of Kerala Police "are of the opinion that the cricketers like Sreesanth might be small players and many big shots are involved in the betting in which crores of money is being circulated." A police officer said, "Sreesanth is just a small fry. Many other people are involved in it. Let's see how the probe is turning out to be." The officer added that "the players could indulge in such practices only with the strong support from power corridors" (TIMES OF INDIA, 5/20). The PTI reported investigators Monsay seized Rs 20 lakh ($36,000) stacked in a cricket kit kept in the house of a relative of arrested cricketer Ajit Chandila, "whose voice samples along with that of two bookies were taken to match with tapped conversations in the IPL spot-fixing scandal" (PTI, 5/20).
LOW POINT: In Dubai, K. Raveendran opined the cricket industry "has reached its lowest point yet." But going by the responses so far of those who are in charge, "it is unlikely that the bottom is anywhere in sight." There "seems to be a lot more muck around." The IPL "is undoubtedly the biggest business component of this industry," with the brand value of the '13 edition being estimated at $3.03B. As the numbers grow from one year to the next by staggering margins, "there is another industry component that is outpacing this impressive growth: the business of fixing." The two have become so intertwined that "it is difficult to say which one is controlling the other" (GULF NEWS, 5/20). Ever since the IPL began, and a profusion of undesirable characters closed in on suddenly rich cricketers, some have been urging the board to introduce an accreditation system for agents -- "one that ran background checks to ensure that the likes of Mazhar Majeed never got near the players." No one "listened." It is sadly ironic that Royals captain Rahul Dravid "was one of the few to speak candidly about the threat posed by these fixing rings." Dravid: "We've always got to be vigilant and keep educating the players." They didn't, "and cricket is again left to pick up the pieces" (THE NATIONAL, 5/20). PAKISTAN TODAY wrote former India batsman Aakash Chopra has said that "any player found guilty of spot-fixing should have his records expunged completely." When asked if dismissing a player's records on the basis of their actions in one tournament is justified, Chopra said, "What we get to know is what has been probed and proved. So if somebody has cheated once, I would err on the other side and say he has been a cheat all his life. And if he is not a cheat, I need to set a precedent because even if it was for one time, he has cheated the country, the fans and the game" (PAKISTAN TODAY, 5/20).