MCA still in the dark about IPL whistle-blower's identity

It has been more than two months since the issue cropped up, but Mumbai Cricket Association officials are still in the dark about the identities of their two Ranji Trophy players, both the whistleblower and the alleged culprit, who were involved in another IPL-related corruption attempt.

"We have not got any information from the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India, which conducts the cash-rich Indian Premier League) on this issue. No, we have not asked them. They must have either investigated the thing or are still pursuing the case," MCA's joint secretary Dr P V Shetty said on Saturday.

On April 10, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur as well as the Rajasthan Royals team CEO Raghu Iyer had praised the whistleblower for bringing to the BCCI's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) about an alleged approach by another individual to corrupt the game. The names of both, described as Mumbai Ranji Trophy teammates in a news report one day earlier to the statements of Thakur and Iyer, were not revealed in the press statements.

According to the news report, a Mumbai-based Rajasthan Royals player was approached by his Ranji teammate, not part of the Royals' outfit, with an offer of money if he followed a pre-decided pattern of play. The player declined the offer and reported the incident to the BCCI's ACSU which launched an investigation into the incident. Today a news report has claimed that it was Royals leg spinner Pravin Tambe, who is also a Mumbai Ranji Trophy cricketer, who was the whistleblower and had reported the approach made to him to the ACSU.

"An inappropriate approach was made to a member of the Rajasthan Royals Team that is currently participating in the Pepsi IPL 2015," Thakur had said in his April 10 press release. "The player, who was approached, reported the matter to his Team Management immediately, who in turn have reported the incident to the Anti-Corruption Unit of the BCCI. The ACU of the BCCI is currently investigating the matter to ascertain the facts.

"We are happy to note that the prompt action of the player is an outcome of the ongoing initiative of the BCCI to educate cricketers at various levels to reject and report any such incident or approach made by individuals who intend to damage the fabric of the game," Thakur had said.

Royals, at the centre of the 2013 spot-fixing scandal as well, had also confirmed the development and promised zero tolerance. "Over a month ago, a player from Rajasthan Royals was approached inappropriately by a player (who was not part of the IPL) in connection with the Indian Premier League 2015 matches," Royals' CEO Raghu Iyer had said in a statement. "Maintaining high standards of integrity, the player informed the Rajasthan Royals management of this inappropriate approach.

In keeping with applicable IPL Regulations, Rajasthan Royals management immediately reported the incident to the Anti-Corruption & Security Unit (ACSU) of the BCCI. "Rajasthan Royals commends the player for having reported this incident immediately and for his honesty and uprightness. His dedication to maintain the highest standards of integrity needs to be lauded," Iyer added in April press release.

Iyer said RR, whose players were arrested during the 2013 scandal, will take a very strict view of any corruption. "Rajasthan Royals in keeping with its zero tolerance approach immediately reported the incident further to the ACSU/BCCI for further process. Rajasthan Royals will continue to provide full support and assistance to the BCCI to ensure that the game of cricket is played in the right spirit."

"This incident does highlight that if players and other officials cooperate and disclose information or approaches immediately, the game can be kept clean and free from undesirable elements and activities," he said. The incident came on the heels of the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal which led to the arrests of three Rajasthan Royals cricketers, including former India fast bowler S Sreesanth.

The spot-fixing saga also forced N Srinivasan to step down as BCCI president after his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was found guilty of betting. Royals' co-owner Raj Kundra was also questioned during the investigation was indicted by the Supreme Court-appointed Mukul Mudgal committee.

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