When the Indian Premier League spot-fixing scandal erupted in 2013, the Central Bureau of Investigation had formed the Sports Integrity Unit (SIU) to probe corruption and match-fixing in sports.
However, neither the spot-fixing nor the subsequent illegal betting case that racked IPL were handed over to the federal sub-unit formed for the purpose. As a result, CBI investigations on multi-crore scams in some state cricket associations are moving at snail’s pace while SIU’s focus seems to be confined to age fraud cases in sports.
The objectives of SIU include enquiring into matters related to sport frauds and coordination with sports federations and law enforcement agencies.
On Tuesday, the CBI announced that SIU has initiated Preliminary Enquiry (PE) against six cricketers and some ‘unknown’ officials of Delhi for producing fake age certificates to play in age-group tournaments organised by the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA). The SIU took more than two years to initiate the PE.
A senior SIU official told HT: “The SIU is investigating four cases, including the J&K cricket association. The investigation is on in all these cases and PEs have already been filed. We can’t provide you detail of other cases,” a senior SIU official told HT on Wednesday.
When a complaint is received or information is available which may, after verification, indicate serious misconduct but is not adequate to justify registration of a regular case under the relevant provision, a preliminary enquiry can be registered after obtaining required approval. It can be converted into a regular case later on.
Last September, SIU filed a case against J&K cricket officials for their alleged role in the multi-crore scam. However, after two extensions by the high court, the probe is headed nowhere. Last October, the CBI, and not the SIU, instituted a PE enquiry into embezzlement of funds by some Delhi cricket officials. A year on, outcome of the investigation is still not known.
The Sports Integrity Unit also began a PE in July against ‘unknown’ officials of the Kerala Cricket Association over an alleged R2 crore scam. But it is yet to translate into a regular case.
Simultaneously, SIU began investigation into 30 cricketers in Odisha for allegedly forging their date of birth to play U-19 matches organised by the Odisha association.
SIU’s first assignment was investigating age fraud in table tennis. The probe into players and national and state bodies eventually led to the filing of cases against four players in West Bengal last year. All had fudged their date of birth to play in lower age categories and cash in on various incentives.