Sawani committee to pursue match-fixing, disrepute charges
The BCCI inquiry committee appointed on Sunday to probe the alleged spot-fixing scandal involving three Rajasthan Royals players will press charges pertaining to match-fixing and bringing disrepute to the game under the BCCI's code of conduct.
The former head the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), Ravi Sawani, who is chief of the BCCI's anti-corruption unit, was appointed solely to lead the inquiry panel. Sawani's investigation will be completely independent of the ongoing probe by the Delhi Police. ESPNcricinfo understands that Sawani cannot investigate the three players - Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ashok Chandila - until they are released from police custody and any further judicial proceedings they might be charged under.
Currently the trio, along with a former Rajasthan fast bowler Amit Singh, who was named as an intermediary, and a host of bookies are being held under a five-day police custody in Delhi.
It is also understood that Sawani is expected arrive at a decision - especially on the charge of bringing the game into disrepute - much quicker than the investigation being currently carried out by the Delhi police, which is likely to involve a lengthy process before any verdict is reached, though no time frame has been set yet for the commission. "We have our own procedures and the BCCI's standards of evidence are not as stringent as the courts. We can be much quicker," a BCCI official told ESPNcricinfo.
All charges will be investigated under the BCCI and IPL's code of conduct. However, one big constraint Sawani could face is the evidence required to prove the charge of match-fixing. "The issue would be whether Delhi police will share the information on players they have with us or not. That is absolutely the key to proving specific offences pertaining to spot-fixing and match-fixing," the official said.
As for the charge of bringing the game into disrepute, the code of conduct will be Sawani's main weapon to prove the offence. The procedure would be the same as Sawani followed during his investigation last year of the five players who were involved in the India TV sting operation, involving one-on-one interviews in person with each player. He also has sole discretionary powers to determine whether the player can be allowed legal counsel or not during his interviews.
On conclusion of the inquiry, Sawani will present his findings to the BCCI's disciplinary committee, which will decide the final action against the players involved.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo