India Sports Minister Seeks Extensive Modification Of Draft Law To Curb Spot-Fixing
India's Sports Ministry "is not satisfied" with the first draft of the proposed law to curb spot-fixing and other corrupt practices in sports and intends to carry out "extensive modification" to the contents of the draft, according to the PTI. Sports Secretary P.K. Deb said, "We have received the draft today. But the proposed law needs extensive modification. After making all the changes, we will be sending it back to the law ministry tomorrow." The copy of the draft law, after being overseen by Law Minister Kapil Sibal, "was sent to the Sports Ministry by the legislative department for consultations with the experts -- sports administrators and former players" (PTI, 5/28). In London, James Crabtree wrote the Indian Premier League "wrapped up its annual cricketing fiesta on Sunday." While the sport is over, "the circus rolls on," by way of a match-fixing imbroglio that is "doing yet more damage to a game once famed for its gentlemanly ethics -- or the 'spirit of the game,' as misty-eyed cricketing types put it." This battle for the IPL’s future is "becoming ever more compelling." The country’s most powerful cricket tycoon, N. Srinivasan, "continues to hang on to his job" as the head of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Srinivasan "is a fascinating figure: part cricket don, part business mogul and also arguably the most powerful man in the sport worldwide, largely because of the financial heft of the IPL." For all this influence, however, he "now faces an enemy of greater force: India’s hyperventilating media, and especially the country’s cable news channels, who have covered the police investigation with great gusto, if not always scrupulous accuracy." Srinivasan is "not accused of wrongdoing in the scandal." Even so, over the weekend it looked as if "a heady mixture of public outrage and media ballyhoo would force him to take responsibility" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 5/27).
CALLING FOR RESIGNATION: The PTI reported Indian National Congress member Jyotiraditya Scindia called for Srinivasan's resgination as BCCI president. Scindia: "From my point of view, not for a second am I assuming that anybody is guilty. Having said that, in the interest of propriety and in interest of the game at this point of time when there is a question mark surrounding an individual, surrounding the team (CSK) and surrounding the manager of that team who happens to be a family member, I believe in all sense of the word propriety that Mr. Srinivasan must step aside" (PTI, 5/28). The PTI also reported in "a veiled attack" on BCCI VP Arun Jaitley, cricketer-turned-politician Kirti Azad said people in the board are not going after Srinivasan because “somebody wants to be the next president” of the high-profile sports body. Azad: "They are acting like Gandhiji’s three monkeys. They all are involved. You scratch my back I’ll scratch yours. Such is the current scenario" (PTI, 5/28). The PTI also reported Union Minister for New & Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah "favoured legalising betting in sports in India." He lent "unqualified support" to Srinivasan. Abdullah: "Worldwide it is there. You are betting in Dubai, you are betting in England, in America, why not in India." When a journalist cited the swelling demand for Srinivasan's ousting, Abdullah said, "Why should he [Mr. Srinivasan] resign?" The questioner said Srinivasan’s son-in-law "was arrested for his alleged involvement in IPL fixing scandal." Abdullah: "How does it matter? If my son-in-law is involved, it does not mean I have to step down. Let the investigation get over. If it comes out in probe that Mr. Srinivasan is responsible, he will go. He is an honourable man" (PTI, 5/28).
MEDIA BLACKOUT: The PTI also reported India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni "maintained a stoic silence on the spot-fixing scandal." On expected lines, BCCI "issued a diktat that the journalists attending the press conference won't be allowed to ask questions on the spot-fixing scandal." When Dhoni was asked why has he not responded as the leader of the Indian cricket team, the media manager Dr. R.N. Baba "stopped the scribe from probing the skipper further, asking him to stick to questions pertaining to Champions Trophy" (PTI, 5/28).
CRIMINAL MATTERS: The PTI reported arrested cricketers S. Sreesanth and Ajit Chandila "besides two bookies were on Tuesday remanded in judicial custody" until June 4 by a Delhi court which "rejected the investigators' plea for two more days of custodial interrogation of the Indian pacer" in connection with the case (PTI, 5/28). The PTI also reported a recent IPL match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore "may also come under the scanner of Delhi Police for 'match-fixing'" after the interrogation of Chandila and bookies who have been arrested on charges of spot-fixing (PTI, 5/28).