BCCI suspends trio, Srinivasan says IPL not 'untenable'
The BCCI said the IPL Governing Council had met and decided to suspend the three players pending an inquiry. "As of now, the three players Ankeet Chavan, Ajit Chandila and Sreesanth stand suspended pending enquiry. All information required to bring the persons involved to book will be collected and strictest action will be taken, if found guilty," a press release from the board said.
Addressing the media, BCCI president N Srinivasan said he was shocked by the news but did not agree with the suggestion that the IPL had become untenable. He also said it was "truly sad" that this incident had occurred given that the BCCI had banned five domestic players last year for being caught in a sting operation.
"We have an anti-corruption code, an anti-doping code. We have advised state units to take steps. But you see the people involved, they are Ranji players and one is a Test player, that is what is shocking," Srinivasan said. "We acted the moment we got information the Delhi police had arrested the three players. Apparently an FIR [first information report] has been filed but we haven't seen it. We have extended all co-operation to police and other agencies if they want any information from us."
When asked about the reports of several other players being involved, Srinivasan said the police had given the BCCI no such information yet. "As far as these three cricketers are concerned, keeping in mind natural justice has to be preserved, we will take action as per our rules and procedures. As for other cricketers we have no information from the police. If information comes to the BCCI, we will act immediately.
"I am also equally sad, as all my colleagues are in the BCCI, that a player who played Tests for India is involved. But that does mean that the entire game is corrupt. I do not agree at all. I do not agree the IPL cannot continue. We will take all steps to root out this kind of corruption. To make a sweeping statement the IPL is untenable, I do not agree.
"We thought when we made an example last year that the message was clear and people would not indulge in such things. It is truly sad. We will take whatever steps necessary for people to understand this is a serious matter and they can get into trouble."
When asked whether the players were more vulnerable to corruption during tournaments like the IPL, and whether the BCCI was doing enough policing, Srinivasan said the board would endeavour to do more. "We will examine what further regulation can be done. As far as player access, we have the same code as in international cricket. We will examine if we need to take more steps.
"We have to examine and see objectively what else we can do, what further steps we can take, and how we can demonstrate that this sort of action doesn't pay at all. There's a lot of work for us to do."
ICC chief executive Dave Richardson said that the body would extend their full support to the investigation. "The ICC will provide full support to the BCCI and Delhi Police in this investigation. The BCCI's decision to suspend its three cricketers on corruption charges is a clear indicator of the ICC and its Members' zero-tolerance approach," Richardson said in a media release. The ICC and its Members have collectively taken measures to tighten vigilance, strengthen our anti-corruption codes and increase player education programmes as well as offering strict penalties to those found guilty of illegal conduct.
"As such, it is disappointing to see that despite the extensive education programmes delivered by the ICC and the BCCI, there still appears to be some players who remain vulnerable to temptations. We have always maintained that the real battle is against the unscrupulous individuals who are preying on the susceptible players."
YP Singh, head of ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) said that more players were reporting approaches to authorities, a sign that allowed for the "confidence to believe that the vast majority of players are playing the game in the right".
India's Sports Ministry called for the IPL authorities to hand out punishments that would serve as deterrants if the players were found to be involved. "It is very unfortunate that Delhi Police have arrested some cricket players for their alleged role in the spot fixing in the ongoing IPL tournament," the Ministry said in a statement. "The Minister of Sports, Shri Jitendra Singh has spoken to chairman of the IPL Shri Rajeev Shukla on the issue and impressed upon him to take urgent steps to put in place a mechanism to prevent such unethical activities and ensure clean sports in the country. The Minister also emphasised that strict action be taken against all those who are found guilty to serve as a deterrent to others."
After initially neglecting the concern raised by the ICC's anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU) the BCCI officially allowed them to function in the IPL from 2010. In 2012, the BCCI set up its own anti-corruption unit, with former ACSU chief, Ravi Sawani in charge and his team has been present at various venues from this edition of the IPL. It is understood Sawani's team had no role to play in the Royals' players investigation, as it was an independent action by the Delhi police.