ACU under fire for pitch controversy

The cricket administrators as well as the BCCI's Anti-Corruption Unit have come under fire following the curator incident but the Committee of Administrators chief Vinod Rai has defended the ACU, saying a three-member team can't be everywhere.

In the sting operation by India Today TV, curator Pandurang Salgaoncar is seen speaking to an undercover reporter, who poses as a bookie, while standing on the pitch of the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium on the eve of the second One-day International between India and New Zealand.

"There were irregularity on all fronts so a full scale inquiry has been ordered. ACU (headed by former cop Neeraj Kumar) has only three people so they can't be everywhere," said Rai.

In a BCCI statement, Rai added: "We are looking into the issue and in contact with the concerned officials. We have asked for a detailed report and will act upon it accordingly."

Acting secretary Amitabh Chaudhary said swift measures were taken after media reports surfaced, claiming that Salgaoncar was seen agreeing to tamper with the pitch to suit the requirements of the reporter.

"We have acted swiftly and ensured that there are no loopholes left ahead of the 2nd ODI between India and New Zealand," said Choudhary.

BCCI CEO Rahul Johri too echoed similar views. "The BCCI is in touch with the MCA and appropriate measures will be taken with regards to the matter. The BCCI will continue to enforce strict measures in case of such misconduct in the future," said Johri.

What has left senior BCCI officials baffled is that Salgaoncar allowed a self-confessed bookie to accompany him to the main match pitch. Under BCCI rules no unaccredited persons, including journalists, are allowed near the pitch.

"The BCCI Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) under Neeraj Kumar will have some answering to do. Here a random man comes, doesn't have an all-access area pass and is taken to the main pitch by the curator," a BCCI official said.

Asked if the ACU unit should be answerable as to how an outsider got access to the pitch, Chaudhary said, "...everyone associated with the ACU would be answerable. In any case a very select few have access to the centre of the pitch."

The BCCI acting president C K Khanna said he is writing a mail to Kumar so that his team gives an update on the incident.

"It's a pity that both former MCA President Ajay Shirke and current president Abhay Apte had helped Salgaoncar have a career after retirement. He gets Rs 65,000 salary per month from the MCA and also a BCCI pension. He is among BCCI's independent curators. We are feeling bad for both Abhay and Ajay. Salgaoncar let them down badly," added an official.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
Comments (+)