Sports minister Ajay Maken hinted on Saturday that his ministry will have to probe former India player Vinod Kambli's charge that the controversial 1996 World Cup semifinal between India and Sri Lanka at the Eden Gardens could have been fixed, if the cricket board does not do it on its own.
"If there is any truth to this (allegation), then a probe should be conducted. The nation and cricket fans have the right to know the truth. It was a World-Cup semifinal and the whole country must have been watching," Maken told reporters in New Delhi.
Maken said he was pained by Kambli's allegation and, if true, it is unfortunate for the game. "Not only as a minister but also as a sports lover, I felt sad to hear that because I saw the match after cancelling a lot of my appointments," said Maken.
He said if the BCCI did not initiate action, the ministry may conduct an inquiry. “We will see. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has not come to the ministry for any recognition so far, but I would want, whatever agency is there, the BCCI should order a probe into it. If the BCCI doesn't conduct a probe, we will look at it,” he said.
Maken also called for a betting law in the country. “Time has come to bring in a law on betting in sports. We will see if it (anti-corruption law) has to be enacted by the sports ministry or the home ministry. We will have it examined,” he said.
Maken reiterated that all federations should come under the ambit of the RTI.