Hindustan Times (Lucknow)

BCCI to seek govt help to investigat­e fixing

- Jasvinder Sidhu

With the Supreme Court-appointed Justice RM Lodha committee finalizing its recommenda­tions on administra­tive reforms in the BCCI, the cricket body has decided to approach the home ministry seeking profession­al help to curb fixing and implement its measures effectivel­y.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has spent millions of rupees on its Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) since it was set up in 2012, but none of the fixing scandals that have erupted since then have been detected by the unit.

Every time, it was either the police or the media who have unearthed corruption in the game. With the Lodha committee having already banned two IPL teams over the 2013 spot-fixing scandal, there is urgency in the board to tackle corruption.

“We met a few months back and discussed that the BCCI doesn’t have the teeth to investigat­e. We are thinking of a system where the investigat­ion is done by a government agency. We will approach the home ministry and find out which agency could be best for us,” board secretary, Anurag Thakur, told HT.

The Sports Integrity Unit (SIU) of the Central Bureau of Investigat­ion could be an ideal option. It was set up in April last year after the agency took note of growing incidence of corrupt practices in sports and their deep links to the underworld and transnatio­nal organised crime networks.

Currently, the SIU, which is under the agency’s special crime branch, is investigat­ing three cases, including the alleged embezzleme­nt of funds by some Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Associatio­n officials.

“The BCCI can only focus on educating players. Our first step is to educate players from the grassroots to the national level. Corrupting elements will keep doing what they do but we are educating players about who they should report to or inform that they are being approached,” Thakur said. At present there in no strong law in India to punish fixers. The “Public Gambling Act of 1867” is so weak that anyone convicted of betting can only be fined R200 or handed a threemonth prison term.

The new Prevention of Sporting Fraud Bill, 2013, drafted to ensure sports remains free of corruption, is yet to be tabled in the parliament.

The previous UPA government had examined sports fraud laws of 17 countries and adapted many aspects. The draft bill provides for a fine of up to R10 lakh or a maximum jail term of five years.

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