League's chief Rajeev Shukla hints that mobiles may be kept on surveillance if Mumbai Police agree to provide expertise to toughen anti-corruption measures
Every Indian Premier League (IPL) edition has had its share of controversies. The biggest of them was the 2013 spot fixing and betting scandal where three cricketers — S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila — were allegedly involved. Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra and Chennai Super Kings Team Principal Gurunath Meiyappan were allegedly involved in betting.
IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla during the players' draft in BKC last year
To curb the corruption menace affecting the ninth edition of the IPL which is set to begin from April 9, there are high chances of players' phones being tapped or put on surveillance by Mumbai Police if there is an iota of doubt.
Last year, BCCI president Shashank Manohar had sought help from Mumbai Police to keep a tab on the corrupt practices in cricket.
"The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will be using the services of the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) once again this time. There will be BCCI's ACSU working along side them which is headed by Neeraj Kumar, who probed the 2000 match fixing scandal of Hansie Cronje and was the one who busted the IPL spot fixing.
"Apart from this, the BCCI president met Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to avail of Mumbai Police's support. A government body can legitimately, legally tap the phones or keep on surveillance. All these three forces will work in tandem to see that no corrupt practices take place (in the IPL-9)," IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla said during the launch of Vivo's new smartphone.
It is still not clear whether the Mumbai Police has agreed to use its expertise for IPL-9. Post the 2013 spot fixing scandal, a seminar on anti-corruption is held for all IPL teams and support staff by the BCCI.
'Sympathise with Maharashtra farmers'
Meanwhile, Shukla said it was not right to link the drought situation in Maharashtra to the water used to maintain cricket grounds in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur for the IPL.
"We sympathise with the farmers affected by the drought in Maharashtra. We (BCCI) would like to help in whichever way we could if there is any proposal from the state government. However, to irrigate these grounds, only a few water tankers are required and I don't think they (water tankers) would make a huge difference. A larger process and efforts are required to find a solution for the drought-affected regions. We can't link the two things," said Shukla, who has no plans of moving the IPL out of Maharashtra.
To engage the spectators more in a game, IPL organisers have decided to take public opinion whenever a decision is referred to the third umpire.
"Every spectator entering the stadium will be given two placards: out and not out. The public will give their opinion by raising any one of the placards. A camera will capture the entire stadium in about 10 seconds and whatever is the public opinion will be displayed on the big screens.
Such a thing has never happened in any sport and the IPL will be the first to do it. Irrespective of public opinion, the final decision will rest with the third umpire. He will go with whatever he sees on his screen," IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla said.