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May 18, 2013
The BCCI working committee, which will meet in Chennai on Sunday, is unlikely to impose a life ban on the four cricketers allegedly involved in spot-fixing. The emergent working committee was called to discuss the implications of the involvement of Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan, Ajit Chandila and Amit Singh in the spot-fixing controversy.
While some may perceive it as inaction, the working committee's decision is influenced by a constitutional clause. According to the board's constitution, a life ban cannot be imposed on a cricketer, who breaches the players' code, for 30 days after an internal inquiry committee is constituted. "Taking that into account, it would be unjust to ban the players for life before the formal and internal investigations are completed," a BCCI functionary told ESPNcricinfo, preferring anonymity. "That doesn't mean the BCCI is taking the matter lightly. Immediately after Delhi Police arrested these cricketers, the Board suspended all of them pending inquiry."
If the BCCI acts in haste and bans players against the provisions of their constitution, the decision can be challenged in court.
Apart from briefing all the working committee members on the information passed on by Delhi Police, one of the key matters on the agenda will be to ratify the appointment of Ravi Sawani to lead the one-man inquiry commission. Sawani, head of BCCI's newly formed anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU), had been appointed to investigate the matter, IPL chairman, Rajeev Shukla said on Friday. The BCCI constitution gives its president the right to appoint an inquiry committee, provided the working committee ratifies it within 48 hours.
Sawani has been invited to attend the meeting along with the ICC's ACSU chief, YP Singh. Since the BCCI's ACSU is in its nascent stages, IPL's anti-corruption activities have been outsourced to ICC's ACSU for an annual fee of approximately US$1.2 million. The BCCI top brass is inclined to review ACSU's mechanism. It is learned that the board officials will attempt to identify the loopholes in IPL's security and discuss means to improve mechanisms that prevent players from being approached by bookies.
With the BCCI facing criticism from all corners for ignoring the player-bookie nexus and allowing the fixing syndrome to grow rapidly, their decision to discuss the issue in detail with the ICC ACSU, and not question them, may be viewed as an exercise to pass the buck. But a BCCI source clarified that it was a "genuine attempt" to make the system as foolproof as possible to restore the credibility of the game.
Hours after the Royals players were arrested in Mumbai in the wee hours of Thursday, a day after their match against Mumbai Indians, the BCCI suspended all three cricketers pending inquiry. The decision came even before the Delhi Police publicly revealed the evidence collected against the cricketers. On Friday, after realising that former Royals and Gujarat cricketer, Amit Singh was arrested as a bookie, the BCCI suspended him as well.