A combination picture showing three players of Rajasthan Royals (clockwise) Ankeet Chavan, S Sreesanth and Ajit Chandila.
The cricket board on Sunday decided to step up surveillance on all players even as it asked Rajasthan Royals to file a criminal case against three members of its squad arrested for spot-fixing — a move expected to strengthen police action against them.
Expressing concern over the growing menace of fixing, the government talked about the need for a specific law to deal with such offences.
As the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) listed measures limiting access to players in an emergency meeting in Chennai on Sunday in the aftermath of the spot-fixing scandal that has hit India’s domestic T20 league, it decided to wait for its panel's report before acting against the tainted trio.
In Delhi, law minister Kapil Sibal, who held consultations with sports minister Jitendra Singh, said there was a need for a separate law as the Indian Penal Code didn’t recognise spot- and match-fixing as offences.
“And I don’t think the offence of cheating is something that adequately deals with the issue of spot-fixing and match-fixing,” Sibal said. A new bill to tackle the menace would “hopefully” be introduced in Parliament in the next session, he said.
S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila were arrested in an early morning swoop on May 16 for spot-fixing in Season 6 of the T20 league.
In a move that could bring more trouble for them, RR co-owner Manoj Badale, who also attended the BCCI meeting, said the franchise would file a complaint of cheating against the players. It is learnt that the move will provide police with stronger evidence and won't allow the trio to escape unpunished, if guilty.
"…We will be filing FIRs with the Delhi police, based on the information provided… As a franchise, we will protect the good, as well as seek punishment for the bad," Rajasthan Royals said in a statement late in the evening.
The BCCI, which suspended the players after they were arrested by the Delhi Police following a month-long surveillance operation, also set up an internal probe into the scandal that has shook cricket's richest event. The board named its anti-corruption chief Ravi Sawani, a former CBI joint-director, as commissioner of inquiry and asked him to submit his report at the earliest.
To prevent a repeat, the BCCI made it mandatory for all players' agents to be accredited with it. Access to players has been limited and would be heavily monitored. Role of agents has come under cloud every time fixing has hit the sport. Unfettered access to players too has been identified as a sticking point.
An official of its anti-corruption and security unit will travel with each team along with a security officer, the BCCI said.
"The BCCI will take appropriate action on the basis of the probe committee report," BCCI chief N Srinivasan told a crowded press conference, adding stringent action would be taken against the players, if charges against them were found to be true.
With agency inputs