The Broad of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has called an emergency meeting on Tuesday after a sting operation by a local TV channel alleged corruption in the Indian Premier League and other domestic competitions. Shalabh Srivastava, one of the players caught in the scandal, has claimed innocence and said the video clips are ‘doctored’.
IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla said strict action would be taken if any player is found to be involved in spot-fixing. Top BCCI officials have already started discussing the issue among themselves amid indications that stern action could be taken against a few players who are shown in the TV sting operation.
The BCCI said it will seek "complete footage" of the 'sting operation' and examine it thoroughly.
"The IPL Governing Council will discuss the issue. We have asked for the tapes. We will study the tapes and then take a decision", a top BCCI source told PTI.
BCCI's Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty said the entire incident was very disturbing and the Cricket Board would take strong action against any player found to be guilty.
The sting carried out by the channel shows a local player contracted with an IPL team allegedly agreeing to bowl pre-arranged no-balls in a domestic match, with another boasting he could do it in the IPL too.
The Indian cricket board said it would not tolerate corruption at any level and has asked to see the video footage before taking a decision.
"We will ensure that the integrity of the game is protected," BCCI president Narayanaswami Srinivasan was quoted as saying by the PTI.
"The BCCI believes in the integrity of the game. We will have to see the tapes and the moment we see it, whoever is the player, we will take very strict action."
BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale added the IPL's governing council will meet on "an emergency basis" to review the footage.
The channel’s reporters, posing as sports agents offering lucrative contracts, claimed they had bribed Deccan Chargers bowler T.P. Sudhindra into sending down a no-ball in a local match in his home city of Indore.
The channel said it had also taped Kings XI Punjab seamer Shalabh Srivastava telling the reporters that he could bowl a no-ball in the IPL if he was paid Rs 10 lakh (about $18,500).
Another Kings XI Punjab player Amit Yadav reportedly said he had reason to believe that last season's IPL match against Delhi Daredevils was fixed, but could not substantiate his claim.
Srivastava, 30, who has played two seasons of first-class cricket for Uttar Pradesh, denied the charge and threatened to take the TV channel to court.
"The voice which suggests that I am ready to spot-fix is not mine," he told a leading newspaper. "I am ready to clarify this to the BCCI, my team owners and the IPL governing council."
"I will definitely file a case against them."
Srivastava said that the audio clip a TV channel is playing is doctored and also threatened to sue the channel. "I fail to understand whatever is being said about spot-fixing. The voice in that telephonic conversation is not mine. It is very easy to frame anyone with a doctored audio clip," Srivastava said.
"I had just seven or eight meetings with them, and they introduced themselves as a sports management people. They told me they can help me to shift to some other franchisee where I can be paid better."
"I am not the only one to meet them, I can tell you they have met at least 50 IPL players. I myself have talked to 15 such players about the issue. They all were doubtful that whether they are from a sports management company or not because they always used to talk about fixing and who is getting how much money," Srivatsava said.
Sports Minister Ajay Maken also chipped in about the controversy saying the onus lies with the BCCI as far as the IPL spot-fixing is concerned and has asked the Board to take prompt action in the interest of the millions of cricket fans in the country.
"I am sure and wish that BCCI acts fast, goes into the root cause of this problem and solves the problem in the interest of the millions of fans in cricket in our country," said Maken.
The Sports Minister also hoped that the BCCI would sort out the issue at the earliest. "I have just seen part of what all of you have seen in the sting operation. I am very sure...you all know that in cricket, in other sports also and not only in India but elsewhere also we occasionally hear such things happening.
"But the challenge and the opportunity here lies with the BCCI as to how far they are able to go to the root cause, go to the bottom of the problem and sort it out," said Maken.
Former IPL chairman Lalit Modi has, meanwhile, tweeted that the allegations are baseless.
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