IPL news May 22, 2015

Code violations in IPL 2014 cleared by BCCI's anti-corruption unit

ESPNcricinfo staff

The corruption scandal involving three Rajasthan Royals players in 2013 has led to the BCCI being extra vigilant about player activities © BCCI

The BCCI's Anti-Corruption Unit had pulled up various IPL franchises and players for failing to adhere to protocol during the 2014 tournament, but both the board and teams confirmed the ACU was satisfied with the explanations it had received and the inquiries were considered closed.

In an email to some officials in the previous BCCI administration, ACU head Ravi Sawani outlined instances where franchises had failed to provide guest lists for private parties and sponsor events in advance, and certain players had allowed visitors into their rooms without informing the on-duty ACU officer, according to a report in the Indian Express.

ESPNcricinfo confirmed the contents of Sawani's email with BCCI officials.

The ACU's concern that certain players were still not following the code strictly stemmed from the scandal of the 2013 season, when some players and team officials were found to be involved in corrupt activities that brought the game into disrepute.

One example Sawani cited, according to the report, was of a private party organised by Kings XI Punjab owner Preity Zinta on a boat on April 30, 2014. In this instance, though only players were invited, there was also a friend of Zinta's in attendance, whose presence the ACU was unaware of. It is understood the ACU wanted to first establish whether there was a party and whether there was an outsider present.

The newspaper also cited similar examples of Kolkata Knight Riders owner Shah Rukh Khan and Delhi Daredevils owners hosting events involving their squads without intimating the ACU. The Daredevils reportedly hosted a party at a five-star hotel in Delhi before IPL 2014 where all the players and support staff mingled with more than 100 outsiders.

A BCCI official said franchises have started sending out guest lists for private parties and sponsor events in advance to the ACU, which vets the names and sends an alert in case of any undesirable elements being present.

Another instance Sawani cited involved two Chennai Super Kings players allowing friends to stay overnight in their hotel rooms without informing the ACU officer. They breached ACU protocol, which states no individuals, "except blood relations or wife/ partner," should be entertained by players in their room.

Ranjib Biswal, who was the IPL chairman in 2014, said all the necessary actions had been taken by the BCCI. "Our ACU chief Ravi Sawani was constantly in touch with all the franchises," Biswal told ESPNcricinfo on Friday. "Wherever necessary, he had reprimanded the owners and players concerned"

A Kings XI spokesperson confirmed the boat party had taken place, according to the newspaper report, and that "the BCCI was satisfied with the action taken by the franchise." A Delhi Daredevils spokesperson also said the details of their function were shared with the BCCI-IPL management through various channels.

Ever since three Rajasthan Royals players - Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila - and a Chennai Super Kings team official Gurunath Meiyappan were arrested during IPL 2013 for their alleged involvement in corruption, the BCCI has been extra vigilant about keeping the game clean.

There is emphasis on educating players during other domestic tournaments as well as IPL, and all franchise squads are accompanied with an integrity officer who keeps a watch on player movements.

BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur had said the efforts were paying off. "As far the players being approached is concerned, the BCCI education policy is working very well. If someone is being approached by anyone, he has reported back to the anti-corruption unit," Thakur said. "I think this is the thing to highlight and admire that the players are reporting back."

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