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Lodha panel should probe whether BCCI ignored ICC warning on Vindoo

Sources in the cricket officialdom are now suggesting that actor Vindoo Dara Singh had been on the official suspect list of the International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption unit (ACU) since the 2011 World Cup.

columns Updated: Jul 21, 2015 13:22 IST
Pradeep Magazine
Pradeep Magazine
Hindustan Times
Justice Lodha panel,Vindoo Dara Singh,BCCI

Going by the new details emerging in the biggest scandal to strike Indian cricket and the Indian Premier League, there could be more trouble in store for some key BCCI officials, IPL COO Sundar Raman and the then members of its anti-corruption unit.

Sources in the cricket officialdom are now suggesting that actor Vindoo Dara Singh had been on the official suspect list of the International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption unit (ACU) since the 2011 World Cup.

The ACU periodically circulates a list of people it suspects could spell trouble and lure players or even officials into manipulating the odds to all its stakeholders, and that includes the anti-corruption units of the various boards. According to sources, Vindoo was among two dozen names the ACU shared with the Indian board in 2011, warning it not to encourage these people and keep a strong vigil on them so that they don’t mix with any player or official.

Already a 'suspect'

This, if true, reveals a massive cover-up in the Indian board for the simple reason that when Vindoo was betting in the IPL with Chennai Super King’s team principal Gurunath Meiyappan in 2013, he was already a “suspect” and the Indian wing of the ACU should have been aware of this.

The Justice Mukul Mudgal panel has in its report raised grave doubts over the conduct of Sundar Raman and his cagey replies that he was “told that some people in IPL are betting but it is not actionable”. The panel, which also talked to the then Indian ACU head Ravi Sawani and member YP Singh, found their replies also unsatisfactory. In the absence of any clear answers from the three, it was unable to find any direct proof which could have conclusively nailed the three and those board officials with whom this information should have been shared.

If these new revelations are true, then it clearly means the Indian counterpart of the ICC’s ACU was already in possession of mails which had listed Vindoo as a “suspect” since 2011, two years before Vindoo and Meiyappan’s betting links were established by the Mumbai Police. The important question then is why the Indian ACU didn’t share the information with the players and even top officials of the board, something which is hard to believe. Was this information not shared with the then board president N Srinivasan, and if not, why?

Far reaching impact

It is again hard to digest that Sundar Raman had no knowledge of Vindoo’s suspect credentials and the same was not conveyed to Srinivasan, who by virtue of heading the Indian board, should have been privy to this information.

A key member of the present Indian board, on condition of anonymity, told HT that “this information was definitely not shared with us then”. He went on to add, “if this is true and had this been shared with us, this scandal would not have taken place at all, as Vindoo would have been banned from coming anywhere near the players and the officials”.

The Justice Lodha panel, which is probing the role of Raman, has its task cut out. It needs to get to the bottom of all this. It has the judicial powers to summon the people involved and get these mails, if they exist, from the ICC and corroborate them with the Indian ACU. To withhold information from it would be clearly against the law and punishable.

If it is proved that this ICC suspects list exists, then we are heading for another shake-up which could see many more board heads roll.


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First Published: Jul 21, 2015 10:33 IST