Kundra suspended, BCCI takes firm action

Stung by spot-fixing and betting scandals in the IPL), the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Monday announced “operation clean-up” to purge the game of wrongdoers.

The blueprint comprises drastic measures like banning cheer girls and after-match parties, besides mandatory financial disclosure by players, a clear indication that the board wants to scale down the entertainment quotient of the cash-rich league.

The Emergent Working Committee meeting of the BCCI also suspended Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra after he confessed to betting during the IPL last week.

Kundra was the second team owner to be suspended from all cricketing activities, after Chennai Super Kings’ former CEO Gurunath Meiyappan. “The working committee on Monday decided to suspend Raj Kundra till the pendency of inquiry from all cricketing activities,” BCCI interim chief Jagmohan Dalmiya told reporters after the meeting.

“Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar had grilled Kundra for 11 hours. Kumar said Kundra had admitted to betting in IPL matches. A complaint against Kundra was also filed by IPL CEO Sundar Raman and a close source, whom I won’t like to name.”

Expressing disappointment over the decision, Kundra said he was being made a scapegoat.

There were talks about scrapping Rajasthan Royals from the IPL after three of its players—S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan—were arrested on a charge of spot-fixing. Kundra admitted to betting on the team.

But Dalmiya said the BCCI needed to look deep into the matter before making any such move. “We are looking into the entire issue of Rajasthan Royals but we need to get the facts. We don’t want to frighten anybody,” said Dalmiya.

The BCCI announced some steps to ensure that the team owners and players are put under strict scrutiny. The team owners’ access to dug-outs has been restricted. They also have to reveal the payment and contractual obligations of the players and support staff before the start of the IPL to the BCCI.

A meeting of captains has also been called to discuss the BCCI decisions. The meeting may be held after the Champions Trophy in England.  “The blueprint is almost ready but we still need to elaborate. We wish to clean cricket as much as possible,” Dalmiya said. He also said a separate working committee meeting would be held soon to finalise the action plan.

During the meeting, Ravi Savani, who was appointed to inquire into the spot-fixing allegations against the three Royals players, submitted his interim report to the disciplinary committee of the BCCI.

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