Cricket: Internal probe clears BCCI chief in IPL spot-fixing: source

NEW DELHI, July 29, 2013 – A probe ordered by India’s cricket chiefs into a betting scandal in the Indian Premier League has found no wrong-doing, allowing the the return of BCCI president N. Srinivasan, a source told AFP on Monday.

Srinivasan stepped aside temporarily as BCCI president on June 2 after his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was arrested, and later released on bail, over alleged links to illegal bookmakers.

Meiyappan is a team owner of Indian Premier League franchise Chennai Super Kings, a team bought by Srinivasan’s India Cements conglomerate when the league was launched in 2008.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) appointed two retired High Court judges, Jayaram Chouta and R. Balasubramanian, to conduct an internal probe into the involvement of its members or IPL owners.

The police have also questioned Raj Kundra, husband of Bollywood actor Shipla Shetty and co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals franchise, whose three players were arrested for alleged spot-fixing.

The probe report, which was submitted to BCCI’s acting chief Jagmohan Dalmiya on Sunday, cleared Srinivasan’s India Cements, Rajasthan Royals, Meiyappan and Kundra of spot-fixing allegations, the source said.

“There is nothing in the report to implicate these people,” a source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“I don’t think we can, or have the right, to stop Srinivasan from coming back as president now,” the highly-placed source said.

The report will be placed before the IPL’s governing council in New Delhi on Friday for further action and will be released publicly later on, Dalmiya said on Sunday.

The internal probe is separate from police investigations being carried out by the Delhi and Mumbai police in the IPL scandal, with charges expected to be filed shortly.

Two Rajasthan Royals players — World Cup-winning fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan — are out on bail for their involvement in spot-fixing.

A third player, Ajit Chandila, reported to be the main conduit between the bookmakers and cricketers, is still behind bars.

The probe panel was hampered by the reluctance of Mumbai police to share information with them until charges were framed, the source said.

“We are unsure how much evidence the police has,” he said. “Would a court have granted bail to the players if there was a serious case against them?”

The scandal in the money-spinning IPL, a Twenty20 tournament which sees top international stars play alongside domestic players, has shaken the faith of fans in what is overwhelmingly India’s most popular sport.

Police allege the players deliberately bowled badly in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars after striking deals with bookmakers.

The BCCI has already reinstated Congress politician and federal minister, Rajiv Shukla, as IPL chairman since Dalmiya said he had not accepted his resignation.

Spot-fixing is when parts of a game, such as the bowling of no-balls or the run-rate, are fixed by bookmakers, while match-fixing is when the outcome of the match is pre-determined.