BCCI cannot police every bookie in town, says Srinivasan

In a move that will bolster the case against former Test cricketer Santhakumaran Sreesanth and others accused of spot-fixing, Rajasthan Royals will file a police complaint as an aggrieved party.

Making this announcement after an emergency working committee meeting of the BCCI here on Sunday, Board president N. Srinivasan said, “We are advised that the BCCI itself cannot do this because the players are contracted to the franchise. The franchise is filing.”

This is an important development since pressing criminal charges against the cricketers would be easier if the franchise, which had employed these cricketers, becomes a complainant.

Ravi Sawani, the chief of the BCCI’s Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), will head an inquiry into the allegations, said Mr. Srinivasan. “We have asked for the report to be filed as soon as possible. We would go by our report.” This could mean that the BCCI would not wait for a verdict from the court before taking action on the players.

Asked whether life bans would be imposed on the players allegedly involved, he said, “I would wait for the report. The cricketers are innocent till proven guilty.”

Mr. Srinivasan said that every franchise would appoint an ACSU officer — he or she would monitor access to the players — from the next edition of the IPL. And the player agents would now have to get accredited by the Board.

The BCCI chief said all cricketers had attended an anti-corruption clinic ahead of the ongoing IPL where they had been signatories. Mr. Srinivasan added the process of educating players on the perils of spot- and match-fixing would be further strengthened.

He said the ACSU had its limitations. “They cannot gather information like the police can. They cannot tap phones. We have a lot of restrictions. We are not a police organisation and are handicapped. We cannot police and control every bookie in town.”

The IPL, as a brand, had not been affected, Mr. Srinivasan said. “We are grateful to the public who filled the stands after the story broke. Because three cricketers are alleged to be involved in spot fixing, the entire IPL does not become bad.”

Mr. Srinivasan said that bringing the BCCI under the RTI is not a solution.