Tamil Nadu

IPS officer files plea against betting in IPL matches

Though the petitioner pressed for an interim injunction, the judges said it would not be appropriate to pass such an order without hearing the respondents. S. R. Raghunathan

Though the petitioner pressed for an interim injunction, the judges said it would not be appropriate to pass such an order without hearing the respondents. S. R. Raghunathan  

HC orders notices returnable by April 13 to Centre, BCCI

A serving Indian Police Service (IPS) officer has filed a public interest litigation petition in the Madras High Court to restrain the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) from conducting the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches without putting in place sufficient precautionary measures to prevent betting and match fixing.

Interestingly, the petitioner G. Sampath Kumar, holding the rank of Superintendent of Police, is facing a criminal case on the charge of having extorted ₹60 lakh from bookies involved in the 2013 IPL match-fixing scam. However, a February 2014 order suspending him from service was revoked last month after he was given a clean chit in the departmental enquiry.

When his PIL petition came up for hearing before the first Division Bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice A. Selvam on Wednesday, the judges ordered notices returnable by April 13 to the Union Home Ministry through Additional Solicitor General G. Rajagopalan, the BCCI, the IPL and eight different cricket teams that participate in the matches.

Though the petitioner’s counsel Perumbulavil Radhakrishnan pressed for an interim injunction restraining the BCCI from conducting the IPL season 11, the judges said it would not be appropriate to pass such an order without hearing the respondents. They agreed with him that betting and match fixing were spoiling the game but wondered how could such things be curtailed.

“There are so many laws in this country to curb corruption. Does that mean corruption has been eradicated?” Mr. Justice Selvam asked. When the counsel said that measures such as CCTV cameras could be placed in green rooms in the stadiums to prevent players from contacting bookies, the Chief Justice doubted if that could be a solution to the problem.

‘Top players involved’

In his affidavit, Mr. Kumar claimed to have unearthed the 2013 IPL match-fixing scam while investigating a fake passport case in his capacity as the Superintendent of Police, Q Branch CID (Internal Security) in May 2013. Further probe revealed the alleged involvement of big names such as former Indian skipper M.S. Dhoni, Suresh Raina and a few others, he claimed.

However, the investigation, subsequently undertaken by the Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID), took a different turn with the petitioner himself being accused of extorting a bribe from a financier named Mahendra Singh Ranka linked to the bookies. Criminal as well as departmental proceedings were initiated against him for the alleged offence.

Though, after four years, he had been given a clean chit in the departmental enquiry and reinstated in service, the petitioner said that the main investigation undertaken by the CB-CID into the match-fixing scam had now been trivialised by overlooking the statements made by a bookie named Kitty alias Utham Jain who had spoken about the involvement of top cricketers.

Since cricket was such a popular game in the country followed by one and all irrespective of age and sex, the petitioner said that it was important to keep a check on the way it was played and ensure that millions of followers of the game were not cheated.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 3:36:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/ips-officer-files-plea-against-betting-in-ipl-matches/article23438060.ece

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