Fixing secrets revealed

After corruption scandals in consecutive years, bookies are said to be still in touch with players.

BCCI's anti-corruption unit chief Ravi Sawani.

A worried Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) of the BCCI has outlined that despite its enhanced efforts to check fixing in Indian cricket, unwanted people have found easy access to players during domestic matches recently and mixed freely with them, making a mockery of established guidelines.

The ACU, particularly, noted with much concern that salespersons of a company that makes a well-known energy drink found access to at least two Ranji Trophy matches played in Delhi recently.

In a detailed powerpoint presentation (PPP) made during Saturday’s working committee meeting in Chennai, ACU director and former police officer Ravi Sawani enlightened Board officials about its activities.

"It was a very detailed presentation, in which Sawani highlighted the steps that the ACU has taken to checking corruption in cricket. The PPP comprised photos of bookies, including a lady, and also of two players. One has played Test cricket and one is a former first-class player,” a BCCI source told Mail Today.

"He said the two cricketers exchanged several calls with Nikita Mahajan (name changed). This was shown though a flow chart with arrows indicating the number of calls made by the players to the bookies and vice versa,” said the source.

"He also listed out the many ways in which players could be trapped by bookies,” he disclosed. "We were told that bookies were in touch with one of the three Rajasthan Royals players, caught in the fixing net by Delhi Police, for about two years.”

Delhi Police arrested Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan on May 16 and later filed a chargesheet against them. BCCI banned Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan for life, pacer Amit Singh for five years, and Siddharth Trivedi for one year. Chandila’s punishment is yet to be determined.

On the other hand, a Supreme Court-appointed committee, headed by former Punjab and Haryana Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal, is probing the roles of BCCI president N. Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan and others allegedly involved in the IPL scandal.

The source said Sawani made a special mention of the Ranji Trophy matches played at Roshanara Club, a private facility where the BCCI was formed 85 years ago, and said that liquor flowed freely there during the games.

"He said someone entered the dressing room of the team and presented players a carton of Red Bull energy drink at Roshanara, liquor was flowing freely there, and locals were seen freely mixing with the players,” he said.

Delhi’s three matches were held at Roshanara Club, instead of Ferozeshah Kotla, after the team management insisted on playing there, much against the wishes of the DDCA administrators. The team management’s argument was that the conditions at Roshanara suited its pace attack — the team’s strongest department.

Delhi won two games and lost one.

The source said that outgoing DDCA president Arun Jaitley, who attended the meeting via a video link, said there was only so much that his association could do as Roshanara was a private club. "He also said that in future the DDCA would try to hold Delhi’s home matches elsewhere and that it’d be careful.”

Red Bull cans were also distributed during the Services-Tamil Nadu Ranji Trophy game at the high-security Palam Air Force Ground in New Delhi as two salesgirls made their way inside the venue and distributed the drink cans. Sawani, who is known for his impeccable credentials, asked the state associations to follow the anti-corruption guidelines for conducting domestic matches.

FROM THE PRESENTATION

  • Via a powerpoint presentation, made at a working committee meeting, BCCI Anti-Corruption Unit director Ravi Sawani shows photos of three bookies & two players under the scanner.
  • The bookies included a lady, who allegedly exchanged a number of calls with the players.
  • One of them has played Test cricket.
  • Sawani also made a special mention of the Roshanara Club, a private facility, where Delhi played three home Ranji Trophy matches recently, saying that someone entered the dressing room of a team and presented a carton of Red Bull energy drink while liquor flowed freely during the games.
  • Red Bull cans were also distributed by salesgirls during a Services-Tamil Nadu Ranji Trophy game at the high-security Palam Air Force Ground in New Delhi in October.
  • Sawani, a former police officer, asked the BCCI’s state associations to strictly follow the guidelines for conducting domestic matches.