Stung by 'Operation IPL', BCCI suspends five players (Roundup)
New Delhi, May 15 (IANS) The Indian Cricket Board Tuesday suspended five players pending an inquiry in the wake of a sting operation by a news channel claiming corruption in domestic cricket, including the lucrativve Indian Premier League (IPL).
The Board of Control for Cricket in India, which took the decision following the IPL Governing Council referred the matter to it after its emergency meeting, barred T.P. Sudhindra (Madhya Pradesh-Deccan Chargers), Mohnish Mishra (MP-Pune Warriors), Amit Yadav (Goa-Kings XI Punjab), Shalabh Shrivastava (Uttar Pradesh-Kings XI Punjab) and Abhinav Bali (Himachal Pradesh).
IPL commissioner and Board spokesman Rajeev Shukla said a thorough inquiry would be conducted and the guilty will be severely punished.
"The BCCI has decided to suspend the five players pending inquiry into the matches which also includes domestic games. We have set up a committee to provide a preliminary report and it will be made public in 15-20 days. Ravi Sawani, former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and currently the head of BCCI's anti-corruption unit, will be heading the investigation panel," Shukla said.
The issue also created an uproar in the Lok Sabha with the members seeking a thorough probe. The Samajwadi Party's Shailender Kumar brought up the matter during Zero Hour and the debate was carried forward by former India cricketer Kirti Azad.
Azad, a member of the team that won the 1983 World Cup, pointed to the genesis of corrupt practices in cricket, saying it all started in 1996 when the World Cup was held in the subcontinent.
Azad also talked of irregularities in the IPL, particularly when the second edition of the Twenty20 league was shifted to South Africa in view of the 2009 General Election.
The suspension of the cricketers comes a day after the sting operation showing players negotiating with the undercover reporters over underhand financial contracts from the IPL franchises.
The footage showed medium-pacer Sudhindra discussing the amount he would charge for bowling a no-ball during the IPL while another fast bowler Shrivastava claimed that franchises lure players promising to pay through underhand deals more than the stipulated cap of Rs.30 lakhs for an uncapped IPL player.
While Sudhindra could not be reached for a comment, Shrivastava pleaded innocence.
"I am innocent. The TV clips are doctored. I fail to understand whatever is being said about spot-fixing. Also if they (a TV channel) are showing all the video clips, why aren't they showing the clip where I allegedly demanded Rs. 10 lakh? The voice in that telephonic conversation is not mine. It is very easy to frame anyone with a doctored audio clip," the bowler was quoted as saying by NDTV.
Outside parliament, Sports Minster Ajay Maken said the latest allegations were an opportunity for BCCI to abolish corruption from the game.
"It is a challenge as well as an opportunity for the BCCI as it would help them eradicate the menace of match-fixing. They should resolve the issue early," said Maken.
"From what we are seeing, corruption is not only confined to cricket, it is also seen in other sports," he added.
India TV's chief editor Rajat Sharma defended "Operation IPL" and said the entire exercise was meant to show how smaller players were more vulnerable to spot-fixing.
"We tried on 10 players and some of them said no to spot-fixing outright. None of the big cricketers fell into the trap. They did not have to as most of them are earning good amounts of money," he said.
The latest controversy follows the spot-fixing scandal in England in which three Pakistani cricketers - Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamer and Mohammed Asif - were jailed for being involved in spot-fixing during a Test match at Lord's.
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