A rattled Indian cricket board reacted swiftly to allegations of spot-fixing and underhand financial dealings in the Indian Premier league (IPL), suspending five players until an inquiry is conducted.
They are TP Sudhindra (Deccan Chargers), Mohnish Mishra (Pune Warriors), Amit Yadav (Kings XI Punjab), Shalabh Srivastava (Kings XI Punjab) and Abhinav Bali, a Delhi cricketer who now represents Himachal Pradesh in domestic cricket.
The decision was taken after an emergency meeting of the Board Of Control For Cricket In India (BCCI) on Tuesday, at the end of which IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla announced the decision to conduct an inquiry headed by Ravi Sawani, former head of the International Cricket Council's anti-corruption and security unit. "Sawani will conduct the preliminary inquiry and send his report to the disciplinary committee," Shukla said.
The five are expected to appear before the inquiry commission in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Srivastava and Mishra have said they are not guilty and are being framed. Mishra, however, admitted he'd made the statements on camera but had done so casually "to develop his value", a PTI report said.
Pune immediately suspended Mishra, hours after the BCCI handed him the same punishment.
India TV claimed on Monday it had conducted a sting operation in which many IPL players had confessed on hidden camera that they got much more than their prescribed auction money under the table.
According to the channel, the sting also revealed that spot-fixing is not only prevalent in IPL but also in first-class matches and that women played an important role in match-fixing.
"We have never paid any amount in cash or otherwise to Mohnish Mishra or any other player over and above the maximum amount permissible by BCCI and neither do we believe in this practice of giving black money," said Pune Warriors India managing director Sushanto Roy in a media release.
Former cricketers demanded the truth be unearthed without wasting any time.
Kirti Azad, a member of the 1983 World Cup-winning team, said: "They won't go after the franchises. Why have they (franchises), who have paid extra, not been suspended until Sawani has come out with his report? Nothing will come out of this enquiry. It will be forgotten in some days."
"Stakeholders involved should be responsible in their actions as it affects the image of the game," said Balwinder Singh Sandhu.