“The above players would not be entitled to participate in any cricket match played under the aegis of the BCCI while under suspension,” N Srinivasan, the BCCI president, said in a statement.
Shukla said Ravi Sawani, the former head of the ICC’s anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU), will conduct the inquiry. “The conversation [in the sting] is about other matches also, which are not IPL, or in previous IPLs,” Shukla said after the meeting on Tuesday. “After due consideration, the BCCI president has decided to have an inquiry for which a commissioner has been appointed, Mr Ravi Sawani. He will be conducting the preliminary inquiry. His report will be sent to the disciplinary committee.”
Indian politicians brought up the matter during a parliamentary session. Sports minister Ajay Maken said it was the BCCI’s duty to investigate the matter appropriately. “I wish that the BCCI acts fast, [explores] the root cause of this problem and solves the problem in the interest of the millions of fans in cricket in our country,” Maken was quoted as saying in an Indian newspaper, the Telegraph. “The challenge and the opportunity here lies with the BCCI, as to how far they are able to get to the bottom of the problem and sort it out.”
Former India cricketer Kirti Azad, who is now a member of the country’s main opposition party, the BJP, reportedly said that corruption in sports was on the rise with politicians heading sports associations. “I have no objections with politicians heading sports bodies,” Azad was quoted as saying. “But ever since politicians have taken over, corruption has seeped in and grown from top to bottom.”
However, Srinivasan said corruption was not as widespread in Indian cricket as it was being made out. “I don’t think this operation can reflect what is going across the board. I can’t deny what has happened because the evidence is there as what was shown yesterday. But at the same time it is a case of few individuals so I don’t want to generalise on this,” he told an Indian TV channel.
“I believe it will be a case of few individual players maybe out of greed or whatever taking wrong steps. I am not prepared to take a brush and paint the whole thing or say that this is rampant or anything like that.”
He also defended the franchise owners from any allegation of corruption. “All the franchisees are people of stature behind it. It will be wrong to presume they are doing something wrong and then make enquiries. If something comes to light it is different.”
Meanwhile Srivastava, one of the players accused by the sting, said he was not guilty. “I fail to understand whatever is being said about spot-fixing. Also if they [a TV channel] are showing all the video clips, why aren’t they showing the clip where I allegedly am demanding Rs. 10 lakh?” he told NDTV. “The voice in that telephonic conversation is not mine. It is very easy to frame anyone with a doctored audio clip.”
India TV, a television channel, showed footage of a player bowling a big no-ball in a limited-overs match and played a recording of a phone conversation that it said was of a current IPL player negotiating a fee for bowling a no-ball. It also had at least three players on camera allegedly seeking more lucrative deals – including extra money that would have violated their IPL contracts – with other league franchises through an undercover reporter posing as a sports agent.
Srivastava has not played a match for Kings XI this IPL season, though he was a fairly regular starter in 2011 and has played 14 matches in all. Mohnish Mishra played the solitary match for Warriors in 2012, when he replaced Sourav Ganguly against Royal Challengers Bangalore and was dismissed for 4. Sudhindra played three games for Chargers, conceding 136 runs and taking only one wicket, while Yadav has not got a game for Kings XI. Bali, an allrounder from Delhi, is not part of the IPL but has played first-class and limited-overs cricket for Himachal Pradesh.