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IPL spot fixing case needs to move at a fair clip, writes Balvinder Sandhu

Investigations into scandal that rocked Indian cricket needs to be speeded up to bring back Indian cricket’s credibility factor, writes Balvinder Singh Sandhu

It's been exactly one year since the spot fixing and betting scandal broke out in Indian Premier League-6. And the developments, without doubt, caught the Indian cricketing establishment off-guard.

Demonstrators hold posters and shout slogans against S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila in Bangalore on May 16, 2013. Pic/AFP
Demonstrators hold posters and shout slogans against S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila in Bangalore on May 16, 2013. Pic/AFP 

They were rather caught napping, oblivious to the fact that speculation doing the rounds for a few days hinted at some players and team owners engaging in rather nefarious activities during the competition.

The scandal broke the hearts of all cricket lovers, many of whom took to social media like Facebook and Twitter to vent their anger against the accused players and officials. They wanted nothing short of exemplary punishment to be meted out to them.

The media too followed the story relentlessly, exerting tremendous pressure on the concerned authorities to fast track the investigations. However, in the process, some reputations too have taken a beating with little to suggest that they were guilty of any wrongdoing. I empathise with those who are innocent for the unnecessary stress they have been put through.

The apex court's decision to appoint Sunil Gavaskar as the chief of the Board for IPL-7 too needs to be hailed, and his impeccable reputation has ensured that the entire focus has remained on the game.

Gurunath Meiyappan surrounded by police
Gurunath Meiyappan surrounded by police 

Gavaskar has lived up to the expectations by conducting the tournament without any off-field controversies, despite the first half of the tournament being held in the Middle East which is considered to be a den of match fixing.

What is disturbing though is the pace at which the case is now moving, be it due to the incompetence of some officers handling the case, or the lawyers appointed by the concerned parties spending a great deal of effort to stall proceedings.

Innocents suffer
Because of this, there is a danger that the real issue at hand will be forgotten and the case will be quietly dead and buried. It is precisely this loophole in our criminal-judicial system that encourages a wide array of cricketers to try their luck and make hay until they find themselves in the dock. Sadly, there are some innocent players, who get caught up in these controversies and their reputations are needlessly harmed.

Nevertheless, many like me, who love the game passionately, are still hopeful that cricket will be cleaned up sooner rather than later. The onus of this rests collectively on BCCI officials, current and former cricketers, IPL team owners, investigating agencies and the judiciary.

May 16, 2013: The day that shook IPL

> India's cricketing establishment is jolted after Delhi Police sensationally arrest three Rajasthan Royals players S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan for allegedly conniving with bookies during IPL-6. The trio were allegedly promised money ranging from USD 36,000 to USD 109,000 for each over.

> Eleven bookies too are arrested. One of the arrested, Jiju Janardhan, is described by the police as Sreesanth's close friend and teammate at their Ernakulam club.

Neeraj Kumar
Neeraj Kumar

> Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar, holds a press conference explaining his team's investigation. However, he claims there is no evidence to suggest any other player, administrator or team owner was involved. According to Kumar, Sreesanth was picked up from Carter Road in Bandra. Chandila was arrested outside a hotel where a bookie was staying while Chavan was picked up from the Royals team hotel in Mumbai.

> The police claim to have identified three matches involving the Royals where the alleged fix happened: against Pune Warriors on May 5, Kings XI Punjab on May 9 and Mumbai Indians on May 15.

> Kumar explains the modus operandi of how the trio went about their task. He says the deal was for the bowlers to concede a specified minimum number of runs in a pre-decided over. He then explained in detail how the deals were struck, how the players indicated to the bookmakers that the deal was on, and how they went on to concede those runs. He said the police has the recordings of those tapped phone conversations.

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