Mumbai: A party hosted by Preity Zinta for KXIP on a yacht owned by individuals on the ICC’s anti-corruption scanner, a woman who spent the night in the room of a CSK player, a dinner hosted for KKR by Shah Rukh Khan’s friend without permission.
These are just some of the several cases of protocol violations by IPL franchises and players spotted by the BCCI’s Anti-Corruption Security Unit (ACSU) last summer, barely a year after the league was rocked by the spot-fixing scandal.
In a letter emailed to the BCCI last season, its ACSU chief Ravi Sawani listed instances where players and franchise violated operational rules and the Anti-Corruption Code. The email specified that these breaches happened during the India leg of IPL 7, from April 16 to June 1 — around the time when the Supreme Court was hearing the IPL corruption case.
Consider these excerpts from the email:
On April 30, 2014, Preity Zinta hosted a party for the entire squad of KXIP, aboard a yacht anchored 2 km off the Mumbai coast. The yacht was provided gratis by its owner, reportedly friends of Zinta. No outside guests were present other than one personal lady friend of Zinta. What is a matter of concern is that the owners are being investigated by the ICC ACSU for their contacts with players and betting on cricket.
On May 8, 2014, Shah Rukh Khan’s friend and business partner hosted a dinner for the entire KKR Team where other friends and relatives of the host and SRK were also present.
On April 9, 2014, Hotel J W Marriott Aerocity New Delhi, one of the sponsors of Delhi Daredevils, hosted a dinner at the hotel for the team. More than 100 outsiders were invited as guests to the dinner and they freely mingled with the players and support staff. Neither was any prior intimation of this dinner given nor did the DD management share the list of invitees with the ACU.
On May 8, 2014, a young lady who was not related to a CSK player visited his room in ITC Grand Maurya in Mumbai. She entered the room of the player at 2150 hrs and left at 0605 hrs the next day. When questioned, the player described her as a good friend.
On May 9, 2014 another young lady entered the room of another CSK player at 2210 hrs and left the next morning at 0730 hrs. When questioned, the player stated that she was a very close friend and that he was likely to marry her. Through inquiries by the ACU, it came to light that in the past the same lady has been in touch with the player Sreesanth and a few other senior players of different IPL teams. She has often been seen in the stadiums cheering for RCB and had a green accreditation card during IPL 2013.
* Two players of Hyderabad Sunrisers have been receiving a very large number of visitors in their hotel rooms irrespective of the city they are in.
* A senior foreign player of KXIP allowed his male friend to stay with him in his room and also travel with the team squad in the team bus on return from the match venue. The same person who appears to be a former player accompanied the KXIP player to the practice sessions in the team bus.
* The players’ agents are now not staying in the same hotels. However, they often visit them at the hotels. Nothing has come to notice that may cause alarm in this regard.
* Whenever players reach their home cities they tend to stay overnight at their own residences. While this may not be a problem by itself it is very difficult for the ACU to monitor the activities/visitors of individual players staying in different locations.
Sawani mentions in the email that a pre-season communication reminding franchises about the ACU protocol was sent by IPL COO Sundar Raman that year. “Only blood relations or wives/ partners can stay in player’s room,” states one of the points of the protocol that Raman had passed on to the teams.
When contacted, a KXIP spokesperson said that the “BCCI was satisfied” with the action taken by the franchise on the incidents mentioned while a Delhi Daredevils spokesperson said they work with all agencies to ensure they follow all procedures.
Sunrisers Hyderabad, KKR and Chennai Super Kings did not respond to emails seeking comment.
Asked about the yacht party, the KXIP spokesperson said in a statement: “The BCCI was in touch with us regarding the incidents mentioned below. We replied appropriately and the BCCI was satisfied with action taken by the franchise. This was last year’s incident and the matter was closed last year itself.”
A Delhi Daredevils spokesperson stated: “All franchises allow their sponsors to host meet-and-greets and other functions as per their commercial contracts. Details of these functions are shared routinely with the BCCI-IPL management through relevant channels and the same was done in relation to the query raised by you.”
The spokesman added, “We at Delhi Daredevils have a zero tolerance policy towards any activities that are against the IPL guidelines. We try our best to ensure that all activities are conducted within the required framework. We actively work with BCCI/IPL and their agencies such as ACSU to ensure that we follow all of their procedures. Also, all franchises have an Integrity Officer in their midst, appointed by BCCI/IPL, to assist in adhering to the parameters.
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