The Modi government is ready to bring a stricter and wider prevention of sporting fraud bill, a legislation the previous UPA government failed to enact. The bill may be tabled in the winter session of Parliament.
Besides sportspersons, the government has included “support personnel, umpires, match officials etc including foreign nationals” linked with any national or international event.
While the finance and the law ministries have already vetted the draft of the Prevention Of Sports Fraud Bill, 2014, the home ministry is still to send it back to the sports ministry.
To stop betting, doping, match- and spot-fixing controversies, the government has decided to strengthen whistleblowers. While sportspersons or officials can be considered guilty if they fail to disclose information of sporting fraud, “details of the information provider will be kept secret”, the draft says.
“Large sums of money and the underworld are involved in match/spot fixing with the aim to make huge profits. The current laws have been found to be inadequate in dealing with sporting frauds effectively,” says the draft.
It lists as fraud the act of a sportsperson who “wilfully fails to perform to his/her true potential...unless such under-performance can be attributed to strategic or tactical reason deployed in the interest of that sport or team”.
The maximum punishment has been left unchanged from the previous draft — five years’ imprisonment and a Rs. 10 lakh fine or five times the amount earned by the person from fraud, whichever is greater.
The offences listed also include an attempt that “manipulates sports result, irrespective of whether the outcome is actually altered or not, deliberately misapplies the rules of the sport, removes or reduces all or part of the uncertainty normally associated with the results of a sporting event”.