Kundra suspended, BCCI begins ‘operation clean-up’

The Indian cricket board (BCCI) has decided to suspend Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra from any ‘cricketing activity’ pending the outcome of an enquiry into the issue, even as interim board chief Jagmohan Dalmiya announced a series of proposed measures to remove ‘sleaze’ from the IPL following an emergent working committee meeting in New Delhi on Monday.

Kundra’s suspension comes after revelations by Delhi Police chief Neeraj Kumar that he had “confessed” to gambling on the IPL. The BCCI also decided to issue show cause notices to the jailed RR trio of Sreesanth (who was granted bail on Monday), Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila as Ravi Sawani’s report on the spot-fixing scam was forwarded to the board’s disciplinary panel.
Meanwhile, the Board also announced Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) president Ravi Savant as the new treasurer.

TOI had reported on Saturday how the board might hand out a suspension order to Kundra. “Kundra has been suspended pending enquiry from participation in cricket activities under the aegis of BCCI,” joint-secretary of the board Anurag Thakur said.

When asked if the Rajasthan Royals ownership could be terminated if Kundra was found guilty — as per the franchisee agreement clause No. 11.3 (c) — BCCI vice president Niranjan Shah added: “We will see how it goes.”

However, sources insisted that if Kundra is found guilty, he may be asked to forfeit his 11.7% share in the Royals and a heavy fine may be imposed on the team. A worst-case scenario, sources insisted, was the termination of the franchise itself. “As per the rule, both Royals and CSK should be terminated. The Royals also have a disadvantage over CSK since their players are involved in spot-fixing,” a well-placed source added.

Kundra immediately issued a statement saying he was being made a “scapegoat” and accused the BCCI of making “all sorts of allegations without proof”. Kundra said since he was an NRI, he could bet through legal channels if he wanted to.

“It shocks, saddens and hurts me when my integrity towards sport is questioned. All sorts of accusations were made against me without proof by people in powerful positions. It is sad that without accurate facts, I am being made a scapegoat and put under trial by the media based on unproved claims,” he said.

“People need to realize that as a British national and NRI, If I wanted to bet I could have done so off-shore on any betting website legally. However I did not do so as the IPL contract as per ACSU rules clearly states that owners cannot bet on the IPL,” Kundra’s statement added.

The board also announced that the committee comprising of Justice R Balasubranian and Jayaram T Chouta would probe both the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals’ involvement in betting and spot-fixing.

Meanwhile, Dalmiya — based on suggestions from various working committee members —suggested 16 points to “remove sleaze” from the IPL. However, no decision was taken on doing away with strategic timeouts. “We have to involve different stakeholders before taking a call on this,” a source said.

“The working committee decided to take measures to clean up Indian cricket. Suggestions will be invited from all quarters, including franchisees, to ensure that the IPL is conducted in the best possible manner. A separate working committee meeting will be held soon to finalize the action plan,” said Thakur.

The board has proposed doing away with cheerleaders and after-match parties. Players and franchises may both be asked to provide full disclosure of their financial dealings and contractual obligations.

As TOI had reported earlier, owners won’t be allowed to access the dugouts and dressing rooms during matches. Some other measures include jamming cell-phone signals during matches, not allowing national selectors to be associated with any IPL team and providing adequate anti-corruption officials at venues and team hotels.

“We are also going to sit with the team owners before making the suggestions into law,” Dalmiya said in presence of key BCCI officials like interim secretary Sanjay Patel and Ratnakar Shetty.

Courtesy: The Times of India

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