If permitted, we will ﬁle a criminal case, says Srinivasan
Under increasing pressure to make strong and concrete decisions in the wake of the alleged spot fixing scandal in the IPL, the BCCI’s working committee will meet here on Sunday.
The indications are that the Board will act tough with the three cricketers — S. Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan — presently in police custody.
In an interview to Karan Thapar in the ‘Devil’s Advocate’ programme on CNN-IBN, BCCI President N. Srinivasan said: “If permitted, we will file a criminal case against them. No punishment is too little.”
He added: “The IPL has not let down people. It is the dirty cricketers who have let the people down. But I don’t have to personally apologise as long as people can see we are acting against the problem. I never expected that a Test player like Sreesanth and others would be accused of such wrong doing.”
Mr. Srinivasan and IPL Chairman Rajeev Shulka will be present at the crucial meeting. The Board’s anti-corruption head Ravi Sawani will provide the panel inside information on the unsavoury episode.
The BCCI has suspended the three Rajasthan Royals cricketers from the game, pending an enquiry. There are whispers though the BCCI could, on the evidence that has come to light so far, provisionally ban these cricketers for life before the court decides on the issue.
Sawani, initially given a 30-day period to submit his report, is likely to be told by the BCCI to come up with his findings quicker than that.
Among those arrested is paceman Amit Singh, who represented Gujarat in last season’s Ranji Trophy. Amit, who turned out for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL before being released ahead of the ongoing edition, allegedly turned a middleman between the three cricketers and the bookies.
The players, S. Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, who have been suspended by the BCCI have been brought to Delhi and charged under section 420 (cheating) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.
Greed for money
Facing criticism for not keeping a check on the menace of fixing despite warnings from various quarters, the BCCI chief insisted that it is the greed of individual players that has created the ongoing crisis.
Mr. Srinivasan said: “IPL has not let down people, but it is the dirty cricketers who have let down people. We feel bad that such a thing has happened. But I don’t have to personally apologise as long as people can see that we are acting against the problem.”
“We are really shocked. I have no words to condemn what has happened. We want it never to happen again. We are an honest organisation,” he added.
Srinivasan defended the league which, according to some experts of the game, has created fertile ground for fixing and manipulation. “That’s a very big generalisation. We have to admit that three players have been arrested. Their lawyers are saying they are innocent. We have to wait for the Delhi Police to substantiate these allegations,” Srinivasan said.
“The BCCI has issued a show cause notice to them but I concede that it is a shock. I never expected that a Test player like Sreesanth and others would be accused of such wrongdoing,” he added.
Srinivasan, in fact, lost his composure when he was repeatedly questioned on the IPL’s credibility and asserted that some players going haywire should not be seen as evidence of the entire league being fixed.
Asked how the BCCI would react if the speculation of more players being involved comes out to be true, Srinivasan said “If that evidence comes out, we will deal with it. The BCCI is very concerned but I cannot go out and tell what our committee will do.”
Srinivasan also brushed aside sacked IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi’s recent statements that his warnings of corruption in the IPL were ignored by the Board.
“I do not give credibility to what Mr. Modi says. He is under enquiry for some very serious acts which he has committed against the BCCI. I do not want to comment,” he said.
When asked whether the BCCI also ignored warnings from the ICC, Mr. Srinivasan said the governing body was supposed to act on the menace and not warn of it.
Mr. Srinivasan, who also owns IPL team Chennai Super Kings, rebutted accusations of conflict of interest.
“This matter is before the Supreme Court. I cannot comment on it. I do not own the team, I happen to be a shareholder in the company which owns the team,” he said.
The BCCI boss promised a fair enquiry into the matter, insisting that nothing would be brushed under the carpet. He backed the idea of having tough legislation to curb fixing and betting in Indian sports.
“We will take whatever steps necessary to eradicate this. I believe that the regulation must be so tight that nobody gets even a quarter,” he said.