IPL fixing allegations May 20, 2013

Indian ministers pursue law against fixing in sports

ESPNcricinfo staff

India's union law minister, Kapil Sibal, is keen on the central government drawing up legislation that makes spot or match-fixing a criminal offence in the country. Sibal has consulted with Jitendra Singh, the sports minister, about the same, and hopes the bill will be finalised and introduced in Parliament at the earliest.

"You have to have a separate definition and a separate law, which makes match-fixing or spot-fixing an offence, a criminal offence, and have separate provisions dealing with the punishment and trial. Of course the criminal procedure code will apply," Sibal told news channel NDTV*. "That law is being contemplated and when broad contours of the law are ready, and this will be done in collaboration with the sports ministry, then sports ministry will carry it to Parliament."

The development comes in wake of the allegations of spot-fixing in the IPL, over which three Rajasthan Royals players - including Test cricketer Sreesanth - were arrested last week. The players were charged under sections 420 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy), and later section 409 (criminal breach of trust), of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Sibal said past instances of fixing in India, where attempts to prosecute the perpetrators failed due to lack of legislation dealing solely with the issue, proved it was necessary to work on such a law. "The present provisions of the IPC don't allow prosecution for match-fixing as it is not an offence," he told Indian Express newspaper. "The nearest provision under which a player or someone who indulges in match-fixing or spot-fixing can be booked is Section 420 of the IPC, which deals with cheating or fraud.

"However, past experience of using this provision of IPC has not been very good, since many previous attempts to prosecute the accused have failed. That is why it is necessary to come up with a special enactment to deal with this."

Indian cricket has had two other instances of bans being handed out for corruption. Last year five domestic players were banned by the BCCI - for periods ranging between one year and life - for allegedly being involved in match-fixing, and negotiating for extra and illegal pay. Before that, there was the high profile match-fixing saga of 2000, following which former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin was handed a life ban and batsman Ajay Jadeja was banned for five years among others. Jadeja's ban was overturned by the Delhi High Court in January 2003, the court ruling that there was no proof of his guilt. In November last year, the Andhra Pradesh High Court declared the BCCI's life ban on Azharuddin to be illegal. The bans were the only penalty meted out to these players, with none of them being prosecuted in a court of law on the fixing charges.

* May 20 4.00pm This story has been updated with fresh Kapil Sibal quotes

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  • hayden on May 21, 2013, 4:26 GMT

    i agree with wolf777 if india wanted to stop match fixing/spot fixing they need to legalise betting. that way you could have a government run bookmaker or betting agency eg the TAB in australia. which would mean the shaddy bookmakers who opperate at present would still be illegal and be in direct competition with a law abiding agency, loose their customers as who in their right mind would want to place a bet illegally when you have a legal alternative. then the underground bookies wont have the funds in order to fix a match as all their customers will have gone legit. and even if they were to still fix a outcome, betting through legal avenues will give an early warning sign as people will know something is foul when you see alot of money bet on a left field outcome. this had been the case in football in aus when alot of money comes in for a full back to be first goal scorer for example it give the authorities advanced warning to investigate.

  • Andrew on May 20, 2013, 23:22 GMT

    I think you're spot-on wolf77. Betting will always occur, so I really believe having it legal and well scrutinised is the best prevention. An attempt to spot fix in a rugby league game in Australia a few years ago was picked up very quickly by the bookies, who were able to go straight to the police because it was legal. It was all out in the open within days, and the culprits were exposed and prosecuted much more easily. No solution will be perfect, but better that path than keeping the whole thing in the shadows in the hopes it will magically disappear.

  • Amit on May 20, 2013, 17:57 GMT

    IPC section 420…appropriately charged….the problem is, however, the general public like to bet on Cricket games. Just let people bet on these games legally…at least things will be open and tranperent…

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