Mumbai: The spectre of corruption reared its ugly head yet again in the IPL with a Mumbai-based Rajasthan Royals player reporting an approach for spot-fixing last month, clearly showing that attempts to fix matches are still being made in the controversy-ridden Twenty20 event.
Confirming that a cricketer was indeed approached, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said the player's action showed that the Board's efforts to educate players over perils of spot-fixing are paying off.
Though Thakur did not reveal the identity of the player, Rajasthan Royals has five cricketers from Mumbai – Ajinkya Rahane, Pravin Tambe, Dinesh Salunkhe, Dhawal Kulkarni and Abhishek Nayar.
Rajasthan Royals, at the centre of the 2013 spot-fixing scandal as well, 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," RR CEO Raghu Iyer 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," he added.
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.
According to a report, a Mumbai-based Rajasthan Royals player was approached by his Ranji teammate with an offer of money if he followed a pre-decided pattern of play. Initially dismissing it as a joke, the player declined the offer and reported the incident to the BCCI's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU).
The latest incident brings back the memories 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.
RR co-owner Raj Kundra, who wants to give up his share in the franchise now, was also questioned during the investigation was indicted by the Supreme Court-appointed Mukul Mudgal committee.
The scandal was a massive hit to the event's credibility with the country's apex court raising serious concerns about the conflict of interest and corruption in the league.
Justice Mukul Mudgal, who led the panel to investigate into the IPL spot-fixing and match-fixing scandal involving a few Rajasthan Royals’ players alongside Chennai Super Kings’ official, said that the player did the right thing by communicating with BCCI’s anti-corruption unit.
During the jersey-launch, Rajasthan Royals' mentor Rahul Dravid had made it clear that there is a need to see stricter laws against spot or match fixing.
“For any robbery or cheating, there are consequences. There need to be stricter laws. Vigilance is the right word to help Indian Premier League (IPL) gain back the trust of its fans. Undesirable elements need to be put out and guiding new players is important,” said Rahul Dravid, former India skipper and captain-turned mentor of Rajasthan Royals (RR) – the franchise enmeshed in courtroom fracas due to betting and spot-fixing cases that unfolded in 2013.
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