November 24, 2000

Madhavan, Muthiah differ on punishment issue

The President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), AC Muthiah, said in Dubai on Thursday that the internal inquiry into the match fixing scandal by the former CBI joint Director K Madhavan is likely to suggest the punishments for the players found guilty. However, back in India, contrary to the Board President's remarks, the BCCI Anti-Corruption Commissioner, K Madhavan while speaking to scribes said that it was up to the BCCI to decide on the punishment.

Madhavan, on his part, told PTI ``I will not recommend any punishment and will allow the BCCI to decide the appropriate action against the guilty.'' The former CBI joint director, who is yet to submit his report after grilling the five cricketers named in the CBI report added ``any action after this has to be decided by the cricket board.''

Madhavan has so far questioned five cricketers, Mohd Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja, Manoj Prabhakar, Nayan Mongia and Ajay Sharma, apart from the former Indian team physio Ali Irani and the Feroz Shah Kotla chief groundsman, Ram Adhar.

Muthiah, who is presently in Dubai in connection with the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) meeting, told Khaleej Times that Madhavan's report is likely to detail the punishments. He added ``the penalties for the guilty could range from life ban to erasing the records of the guilty from the books.''

Dwelling at length on Madhavan's report, Muthiah said ``the BCCI report will not drastically differ from the CBI report in nature and content. The exercise is being done because it is obligatory for a department to follow up on the CBI findings.''

While speaking to PTI in New Delhi, the BCCI anti-corruption commissioner justified the setting up of the inquiry, saying ``even after the CBI names any government employee for allegedly abusing the official position, a departmental enquiry is initiated against the official to verify the charges levelled.''

On the observations in the CBI report about BCCI's lethargy in handling the issue, Madhavan said that he was still awaiting the Board's comments along with a supplementary report to this effect which is to be submitted on November 27.

``I have been told the delay is due to the BCCI members having to consult each other in submitting their replies and their frequent tours in connection with their own commercial and industrial activities,'' said Madhavan. He added ``as the extension of time sought by BCCI is only two days, I have acceded to their request.''

As to whether he would summon other cricketers for questioning, Madhavan said ``After considering the CBI report and the statements made before me by the players and others, I do not consider it necessary to summon and examine any other person.''