In the wake of the IPL spot-fixing scandal, the Centre is planning to bring a new law to curb such offences in sports activities even as Delhi Police arrested three more people, including a former Ranji player, for links with Rajasthan Royals cricketer Ajit Chandila.
Law Minister Kapil Sibal, who held a meeting with Sports Minister Jitendra Singh here on Sunday, told reporters that a new bill to tackle spot-fixing and match-fixing would hopefully be introduced in Parliament in the next session.
The minister said a separate law was required to put an end to such offences as the Indian Penal Code did not recognise match-fixing and spot-fixing as offences.
Expressing shock over the spot-fixing controversy in the ongoing Indian Premier League matches, Sibal said, “It destroys the confidence of the public in the sport and that’s not good for those consumers, for the people of India who watch this sport and participate in this sport.”
To bring back public confidence in sport, the country needs an exclusive law, he said. Sibal has already asked his ministry officials to start drafting the new bill.
Once the broad parameters of the law are determined, the draft will be handed over to the Sports Ministry to take it to the Cabinet. Sibal said he was confident that all political parties would support the proposed bill.
Special Commissioner of Delhi Police ( Special Cell) S N Srivastava said three people were arrested in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district and identified them as Sunil Bhatia (44), a property dealer and fixer; Kiran Dole alias Munna (42), fixer and bookie and Manish Gudewa (32), who are from Nagpur.
Manish used to play in the Ranji Trophy tournament for Vidarbha from 2003 to 2005, and has known Ajit since 2000.
“Ajit used to practise cricket with Manish . Manish used to live in the NH-4 Colony of Haryana’s Faridabad district. It was Manish who introduced Ajit to Sunil and Kiran, and played the role of middleman. The exact role of the trio is still being probed,” Srivastava said.
Sunil, Kiran and Manish were held around 5 am and were brought to the capital by 4:30 pm for further interrogation at the special cell’s office at Lodhi Road. “Their mobile phones were put on technical surveillance, and several raids carried out in four cities led to the arrests,” Srivastava said.
Ajit, along with Rajasthan Royals teammates Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan, was arrested on May 16 in Mumbai. They were interrogated for the third day on Sunday, and police sources said Ajit was in touch with not one, but four sets of bookies. “Manish organised several meetings in New Delhi, Mumbai, Gurgaon, Pune and Chandigarh, where he introduced Ajit to bookies.”
Meanwhile, a police team searched several hotels in Mumbai in which Sreesanth, Ajit and Ankeet stayed to collect evidence and find out if there was a link between the spot-fixing case and the bookies who were arrested by Mumbai Police. Police have already asked hotels in Mumbai, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Hyderabad to provide CCTV footage to scan such meetings.
Sreesanth, on the day he was arrested, boasted of high political connections and asked the Delhi Police team to speak to Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.
Sreesanth argued with the police and resisted arrest, but was taken into a police car. “He even gave his mobile phone to a police officer asking him to call the chief ministers,” sources said. Police are also trying to ascertain the identity of the woman who was with Sreesanth at the time he was picked.
The BCCI on Sunday confirmed that Rajasthan Royals will file a criminal complaint against Sreesanth, Ajit and Ankeet. Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the board’s working committee, BCCI president N Srinivasan said: “We invited Rajasthan Royals’ owners and management to attend the meeting and brief the working committee on this incident. We were informed that they intend to file a police complaint against the three players.”
The Enforcement Directorate is also likely to begin a money laundering probe. Sources said action under Prevention of Money Laundering Act would be taken after going through the FIRs filed by Delhi Police and Mumbai Police.
The agency may also probe into the alleged hawala (illegal way of transacting big sums of money) dealings under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act.
Agents to be accredited
The Board of Control for India (BCCI) in its Working Committee meeting on Sunday decided to give accreditation to all the player agents.
“The Working Committee decided henceforth all player agents have to be accredited by the BCCI. There will be an ACSU (Anti-Corruption and Security Unit) official appointed with each team along with a security officer,” said N Srinivasan, president of the Indian cricket board. He said players would also be kept under watch.