New Delhi: A grim Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is taking a sting operation being aired by a TV channel very seriously; the channel has aired video clips purportedly showing spot-fixing in the Indian Premier League and other domestic games. The IPL Governing Council is meeting in Mumbai today and the board has said it will take strict action against those found guilty.
The issue was also raised in Parliament, where BJP leader and former cricketer Kirti Azad demanded strict action those who are maligning the image of cricket. "Corruption stems from a top-down approach. Cricket is not a part of the National Sports Federation and that is why Sports Ministry does not have a say in its functioning. I demand from the government to make internal auditing compulsory for all sports associations and the board. I agree that the IPL is a commercial entity but they had promised to run it as a non-profitable organization, what about that?" (Also Read: IPL spot-fixing: Kings XI bowler claims innocence)
The BCCI, on the other hand, is disturbed with the reports of spot-fixing in the IPL. "The footage that was shown by the television channel was very disturbing," BCCI chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty said.
"We will not tolerate any such thing. BCCI has zero tolerance when it comes to corruption and dope related issue," said Shetty. Shetty also informed that BCCI president N Srinivasan has asked the television channel for the CD to see the "complete footage" of the 'sting operation' and examine it thoroughly.
"The Board has written a letter to the channel and has asked for the CD and get an access to whatever was displayed. The BCCI will fully inquire into the issue," he insisted.
Indian Sports Minister Ajay Maken also asked the BCCI to take prompt action against the culprits action in the interest of the millions of cricket fans in the country. "The challenge and the opportunity lies with the BCCI as to how far they are able to go to the root cause, go to the bottom of the problem and sort it out," said Maken.
IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla has also said that strict action will be taken against players involved in any act of corruption. "We have the meeting of the governing council at 14:30 today. We will not tolerate any such activities and whatever report we receive we will take very strict action. In the past also, BCCI has not spared anyone," Shukla said.
Asked if the ICC's anti-corruption has sought a report from the BCCI on this issue, Shukla said, "This is a domestic tournament, so the ICC doesn't ask for a report on this. But we have asked ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit to look into the matter."
Kings XI Punjab player Shalabh Srivastava, Mohnish Mishra of Pune Warriors, TP Sudhindra of Deccan Chargers and Amit Yadav of Kings XI Punjab were the players who were shown in the sting operation.
Srivastava, who has allegedly been recorded on an audio clip in a sting operation demanding Rs. 10 lakh to bowl a deliberate no-ball during an IPL game, has denied the spot-fixing charge and said that the clip being played by a television channel is doctored.
Speaking exclusively to NDTV, Shalabh Srivastava said, "I fail to understand whatever is being said about spot-fixing. Also if they (a TV channel) are showing all the video clips, why aren't they showing the clip where I allegedly am demanding Rs. 10 lakh? The voice in that telephonic conversation is not mine. It is very easy to frame anyone with a doctored audio clip."
The Kings XI bowler said he plans legal action against the TV channel. "I will definitely file a case against them," he said.
He also said that the reporters who conducted the sting met him as sports managers who claimed to bring better offers from other franchises. "I must have met them 7-8 times and that too because they claimed to be sports managers. They claimed that they can get us better offers from other franchises. And it's not only me. They must have met around 50 players from the IPL and I must have spoken to approximately 15 players about them."
"All of them were doubtful about them as they always talked about fixing and prodded the players about how much were they being paid by their team owners. All of us were doubtful because contrary to what they claimed (that they were sports management guys), they also touched controversial topics," he added.
Apart from Shalabh Srivatsava, a Deccan Chargers bowler TP Sudhindra, who is from Madhya Pradesh, has purportedly been caught on camera allegedly accepting bribe for a domestic match. The bowler is seen on camera asking for Rs. 40,000 to bowl a no-ball during an Indore T20 League match. The player, who took 40 wickets for his state in the 2011-12 season, did bowl a huge no-ball off the second delivery of his first over in that match.
(With PTI inputs)