Mohnish Mishra, one of the five players suspended by the BCCI pending an inquiry into accusations of corruption, has said that he made the statements recorded during India TV's sting operation casually, only with a view to "develop his value".
The television channel had recorded at least three players allegedly seeking more lucrative IPL deals - including extra money that would have violated league regulations - with other franchises through an undercover reporter posing as a sports agent. Following the Indian board's suspension order, Mishra's franchise, Pune Warriors, also suspended him.
"I sincerely apologise for the embarrassment caused to Sahara [the franchise' owners] due to such frivolous and incorrect statements," Mishra reportedly said in a letter addressed to his franchise. "I have not received any amount in cash from Sahara."
Sahara's Sushanto Roy said in a release that the franchise supported the BCCI's decision to suspend Mishra. "We strongly condemn his irresponsible conduct, and are suspending him with immediate effect till further investigation happens. He will not take any further part in the IPL. We appreciate the stand taken by the BCCI."
The franchise, Roy said, has not made any extra payment to Mishra or any other player. "We reiterate that Sahara has never paid any amount in cash or otherwise to Mohnish Mishra or any other player, over and above the maximum amount permissible by BCCI, and neither do we believe in this practise of giving black money."
Apart from this accusation, India TV also played a recording of a phone conversation of an alleged current IPL player negotiating a fee for bowling a no-ball, accompanied by footage of a player bowling a big no-ball in a limited-overs match.
Along with Mishra, TP Sudhindra, Shalabh Srivastava, Amit Yadav and Abhinav Bali were also linked to the accusations and suspended. The voice in the phone conversation was alleged to be Srivastava's.
Srivastava had said on Wednesday that he is not guilty. "I fail to understand whatever is being said about spot-fixing. Also if they [the channel] are showing all the video clips, why aren't they showing the clip where I allegedly am demanding Rs 10 lakh?" he told NDTV. "The voice in that telephonic conversation is not mine. It is very easy to frame anyone with a doctored audio clip."
Srivastava also said he was not even part of the Kings XI playing squad this season due to a long-standing knee injury. "I have not played for Uttar Pradesh in both the 2011 and 2012 seasons due to a knee injury," Srivastava told PTI. "I have not been playing IPL matches because of this, I am not even in the squad of 15. I am in Lucknow for the past one month, so how can I fix matches?
"I am resting at home so how can I promise somebody to bowl no balls? All allegations against me are false and this is an attempt to destroy my career. I am not even playing, so how can I fix matches? I won't get intimidated by all this and come out clean. I will present my case in front of BCCI officials, if I am asked to. I have already spoken to Kings XI officials and they have promised to support me through this."