India captain MS Dhoni has been panned for his silence, but Sachin Tendulkar finally voiced his opinion on the spot-fixing and betting scandal that has engulfed Indian cricket as on Friday he expressed his "shock and disappointment" over the developments in the last two weeks.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his first reaction to the scandal said politics and cricket should not get mixed.
"Developments in the last two weeks have been shocking and disappointing," Tendulkar said in a statement on Friday. "It always hurts me when the game of cricket is in news for wrong reasons."
"As cricketers we are always taught to go out, fight hard, give our very best and play in the true spirit of the game," Tendulkar, who is the first current Indian cricketer to comment on the scandal, said.
"During this difficult phase, I join every cricketer, from the boys in the maidans across the country to those who represent clubs, states and the country, who trust the authorities to take sincere steps to get to the root of the issue."
"The faith reposed by the millions of fans should be justified and we owe it to them to ensure that Indian cricket is all about pride and joy," the legendary batsman, who has announced his retirement from IPL, played for Mumbai Indians, which won this year's tournament.
Former India batsman VVS Laxman had also said the issues of corruption in the IPL were "distressing".
"It's very disappointing. The last two weeks have been quite distressing and a feeling of anguish was definitely there. I hope the various investigations done by the police in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai come to a logical conclusion, and more importantly the cause of this problem is erased. It is very important because just for some greedy players, the credibility of the rest of the players should not be affected. I think it is a very important issue and I am sure it will be cleaned up very soon," Laxman said.
Manmohan, when asked if the government was contemplating intervention into the scandal, said: "I would not like to comment on the type of things you have mentioned. This is under investigation."
The prime minister refused to be drawn into the controversy that top politicians, including ministers, were holding top positions in the BCCI.
"It is not proper for me to comment. I only hope that politics and sports don't get mixed," he told the accompanying media on board his special aircraft after ending his five-day visit to Japan and Thailand.
TRIVEDI TURNS WITNESS [Link]
A bowler has turned witness for police probing a spot-fixing scandal in Indian cricket and his evidence could be used in a case against his teammates, an officer said on Friday.
Paceman Siddharth Trivedi has recorded testimony for police who are trying to link bookmakers to three of his teammates arrested as part of the corruption probe into the Indian Premier League (IPL), the unnamed officer said.
"His statement is important because he has told us he has information on some of the bookies arrested by us," a police officer, who is part of the investigating team, told AFP on condition of anonymity.
"Trivedi's statements will be admissible as evidence in the court. It will definitely make our case stronger," the Special Cell officer told AFP.
SRINIVASAN HAS 48 HOURS?
The anti-Srinivasan group in the BCCI says the board president's future is likely to be decided in the next 48 hours, CNN-IBN reported. BCCI sources told the channel if Srinivasan doesn't step down by then, they will call a special emergency meeting.
As Srinivasan is an elected functionary, at least three-fourths of the 30 full members of the board must vote against him. But that too may not be enough. To have him removed as the BCCI chief, at least 10 members have to make a written submission to convene a Special General Meeting of the board.
If he manages the support of eight full members, which is the case now, he would stay on.
RAJASTHAN PLAYER TO TURN WITNESS
The Delhi Police is speaking to Rajasthan Royals player Siddharth Trivedi in connection with the IPL spot-fixing case.
Trivedi has been made a prosecution witness in the case to make the police case stronger. CNN-IBN reports that Trivedi was offered bribe by bookies but he refused.
Meanwhile, the news channel reported that two foreign players were approached by the bookies, but they also rebuffed the approach.
Trivedi told the police that he has information about all four bookie rings, many of whom are in custody. Trivedi reportedly told the police about a group of friends including foreign players who partied together where bookies were active, according to CNN-IBN.
MISSING HOTELIER SURFACES
Chennai hotelier Vikram Aggarwal aka Victor in betting circles, who had been untraceable, finally appeared at the Mumbai crime branch on Friday for questioning. Earlier on Friday, the Tamil Nadu Police mulled issuing a lookout notice against Aggarwal to stop him from fleeing the country.
The Mumbai Police argued that further custody is necessary to complete their investigations at a Mumbai court where Gurunath and Vindoo had been produced on Friday. The Mumbai Police said they confronted Gurunath with the contents of his diary. The diary contains notations of several meetings.
The Mumbai Police had summoned Aggarwal for questioning on Friday over betting links with BCCI chief N Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan.
On Thursday, the Madras High Court had dismissed Aggarwal's anticipatory bail petition in connection with the summons issued by the Tamil Nadu Police.
Aggarwal failed to appear before the Crime Branch Crime Investigation Department (CBCID) on Thursday, the deadline set by the latter for an enquiry in connection with cricket betting.
In another anticipatory bail application filed by him in connection with the summons issued by Mumbai Police, the court ordered notice to the Mumbai Police.
Police say Aggarwal has been active in betting circles and was the one who introduced Bollywood actor Vindoo Dara Singh to Gurunath. Both are being interrogated on charges of betting.
IPL CEO FILES COMPLAINT
IPL CEO Sundar Raman on Friday filed a complaint against Gurunath Meiyappan, the son-in-law of Srinivasan; Chennai Super Kings owner India Cements and the Rajasthan Royals in a Mumbai court.
COURT NOTICE TO GOVERNMENT
The Delhi High Court on Friday issued notice to the sports ministry, BCCI and the city government on a plea seeking a direction for the ministry to take control of the cricket board and its affairs, including the IPL.
A division bench of Chief Justice D. Murugesan and Justice Jayant Nath asked the central and Delhi governments as well as the BCCI to file their responses within four weeks and posted the matter for August 14.
Petitioner NGO Association for Social and Humanitarian Affairs said in its public interest litigation (PIL) that the sports ministry should declare BCCI a national sports federation and take control of all its affairs in relation to the game of cricket, including the Indian Premier League.
The IPL spot fixing scandal has led to a complete loss of faith in the management of the BCCI over the IPL, the plea said.
The PIL further added that cricket was being exploited by the mafia to fund terrorists activities, damaging the game.
PROBE MAY GO OUT WITH A WHIMPER
The clamour over the spot-fixing scandal will gradually die down and would have little progress as far as arrests or investigations are concerned, believe Mumbai Police officials, who are heading one part of the investigation that has held the nation rivetted. Police sources told Hindustan Times investigations into the Twenty20 league would only scratch the surface and not touch prominent figures associated with Indian cricket, or those who are core to the scandal.
It is just over a fortnight since Delhi Police arrested Rajasthan Royals' S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila.
They are confident of filing the charge sheet within 90 days and believe they have built a strong case although the Capital's force is yet to file a charge sheet in the 2000 match-fixing scandal which they unearthed.
The Mumbai crime branch's current investigation stands on a feeble ground with little headway having been made in tracing the money trail with no proof yet of any financial transactions between arrested Chennai Super Kings boss Gurunath Meiyappan, BCCI president N Srinivasan's son-in-law, and Bollywood actor Vindoo Dara Singh.
"Do you really believe that only Sreesanth was involved in spot-fixing?" asked a senior Mumbai officer, requesting anonymity. (To read the full story, click here)
SRINIVASAN RATTLED [Link]
Amid the ever-growing decibel level of BCCI affiliated units calling for the resignation of Board president N Srinivasan, an apparently jittery Chennai-based supremo has himself been individually calling such members opposed’ to him to check whose side they are on.
One of the officials who got a call from Srinivasan, G. Vinod, president of the Hyderabad Cricket Association, on Thursday confirmed to Mail Today that the Board chief telephoned him to check if he had indeed sought his resignation.
This disclosure comes on a day when more and more state associations publicly followed ‘Pied Piper’ Jyotiraditya Scindia, president of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association and union minister of state for power, who was the first top BCCI official to openly demand Srinivasan’s resignation.
In the 30-member BCCI, the number of associations seeking Srinivasan’s ouster has quickly grown and they are now in a position to call for an emergency meeting of the working committee.
ONLY 10 PERCENT PLAYERS SAY 'NO' [Link]
A bookie revealed that fixing is like an addiction and players are more open to spot-fixing as it doesn’t hurt their conscience.
“The first time a cricketer takes money, he is hooked. He can’t get out of it. Only 10 per cent of all cricketers say no. For our safety all bookies have recordings of cricketers with women. The meetings generally take place in farmhouses and Dawood is least interested in calling and forcing people to fix."
“The biggest money is made in sessions. Sessions are played for 10-20 overs or 13-20 overs. All the cricketer has to do is play slow for 15 minutes. The rate is set at 70 a session. His job is to bring it back up to that after initial play. Players don’t mind because technically they are not cheating the country,” he said.
Talking about the signs used, he revealed: “When a cricketer shrugs, allows the ball to hit them, fake injury, they are stalling. A boy will bring water or a towel and say ‘Ma theek hai’. That means the money has reached. If the tapes are checked, some four to six players can be spotted with an extra loose patti (ribbon) on their tshirt. Everyone needs money. A commission of 2 per cent can be 3-4 crore. In the Chennai versus Pune match, the driver was the conduit. Money and women are the biggest lures.”
EXTRADITION PROCEEDINGS LIKELY AGAINST RAUF [Link]
Mumbai Police Crime Branch is likely to initiate proceedings to extradite Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf and bookies Sanjay and Pawan Jaipur, reports Indian Express. While Rauf is in Pakistan, the bookies are believed to be in Dubai.
Police said Rauf discussed betting with Vindoo Dara Singh and accepted gifts from the Jaipur brothers.
Vindoo has allegedly told police he tried to get information on pitch and match conditions from Rauf to use for betting.
"We are trying to get Rauf and the Jaipur brothers to India. If they fail to come, we might initiate extradition procedures. Vindoo claims warrant questioning of Rauf and the Jaipur brothers," said a Crime Branch officer.
LAW WILL FIX ADMINISTRATORS TOO [Link ]
As Srinivasan brazens out the uproar over the arrest of his son-in-law and IPL team principal Gurunath Meiyappan, the government is working on a plan to make all sports administrators adhere to a specified code of conduct.
An Indian Express report said the law ministry's proposed anti-fixing law includes a clause making it mandatory for all sports associations to have mandatory, government-notified codes of conduct. The code will be binding on all association office-bearers, selectors of teams, members and managers.
According to the draft Prevention of Dishonest Practices in the Sporting Events Bill, 2013, which the law ministry has sent to the sports ministry for inputs, any office-bearer of an association, selector, member and manager who "contravenes the regulation specifying the code of conduct" would be "punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine".
A top government official said the draft Bill, if passed by parliament, will ensure that conflicts of interest such as the one involving Srinivasan and the Chennai Super Kings do not arise.
HEADS NEED TO ROLL: DALMIYA [Link]
As demands for the resignation of Srinivasan grow louder, one of the BCCI's most high-profile former presidents, Jagmohan Dalmiya, believes the time has come for heads to roll. Speaking to IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, Dalmiya even said that if need be, 'masala cricket' like the IPL must stop.
"I am not saying that you take out a small portion from the system and a complete clean up will be achieved. The board needs to sit down, make a committee, make some people come across the table in a committee with some sensible people. In this process if a number of heads roll, let them roll," Dalmiya said.
"If you ask me broadly that what is the cleaning of the cricket, I will say masala matches, exhibition matches, Toronto kind of cricket should stop," Dalmiya added.
WERE BATSMEN INVOLVED? [Link]
A Delhi court on Thursday questioned police about the role of cricket batsmen in the IPL spot fixing case and asked "if the bowler was fixed, what was the batsman doing?"
"If the bowler was fixed, what was the batsman doing? How come the bowler was giving 13 runs and batsman also made that many runs? What if he could not make that many runs?" asked Additional Sessions Judge Vinay Kumar Khanna, saying he wanted to know the Delhi Police were probing the role of any batsman in the case.
"Who was the batsman when Ankeet Chavan was bowling? There must have been something under his control also, after all, he has made runs...I wonder how can bowler give away runs without the batsman," he added.
Replying to the queries of the judge, Public Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan and police officials told him that they were not probing the role of any other player or batsman.
KAZAKH GIRLS IN THE DOCK
The Mumbai crime branch will question two women from Kazakhstan who are in the city on tourist visa and were seen in the CCTV footage of Novatel, Juhu and Oakwood, Juhu hotels along with two bookies and Vindoo Dara Singh. Sources said rooms in both hotels were booked by Vindoo for bookies Pawan and Sanjay Jaipur.
Ankeet Chavan gets conditional bail
Srinivasan should go — but why?
Dhoni says cricket's reputation intact
In Srinivasan's support: The ayes and nays
Kolkata-Bangalore tie under scanner
Dear Srini… With love, Sharad
Sreesanth's custody extended until July 4
All 10 cricketers from UP under surveillance
Glad to see two upright gentleman resign - Ajay and Sanjay. Left Now are a few bad apples banded together— Lalit Kumar Modi (@LalitKModi) May 31, 2013