The Board of Control for Cricket in India has suspended five Indian Premier League players allegedly caught on camera indulging in spot-fixing in a sting operation aired by a TV channel. Board President N Srinivasan has set up a committee to conduct a preliminary inquiry into what the sting operation shows.
Pending the report of that inquiry, to be submitted in 15 days, the five players - Amit Yadav (Kings XI Punjab), Mohnish Mishra (Pune Warriors India), Abhinav Bali (played for Delhi Giants in the erstwhile Indian Cricket League), TP Sudhindra (Deccan Chargers) and Shalabh Srivastava (Kings XI Punjab) - will remain suspended from all forms of cricket, IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla said.
The Indian Premier League Governing Council met through tele-conference for over six hours today; those members in Mumbai gathered at the BCCI office for the emergency meeting called after the sting operation was aired. The news channel, India TV, has been asked to provide full footage of the tape which purportedly caught the players negotiating for bribes for spot-fixing and also allegedly talking about being paid by IPL franchises in black money. Sources said it was decided that the inquiry would look into both the role of players and franchises in "murky deals" that the sting operation purportedly uncovers. Ravi Sawani, who is an advisor to the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit, will head the inquiry.
Earlier in the day, Mr Srinivasan, who also owns the Chennai Super Kings IPL franchise said that all those found guilty would be punished; Rajiv Shukla had the cash-rich T20 tournament must be kept clean at any cost.
Among the players now under the scanner are TP Sudhindra of the Deccan Chargers who is seen on camera allegedly accepting bribes before a domestic match. Although there is no proof that the 28-year-old pacer from Madhya Pradesh has taken money during the course of the IPL, on camera he is seen asking for Rs. 40,000 to bowl a no-ball during an Indore T20 League match. The player, who took 40 wickets for his state in the 2011-12 season, did bowl a huge no-ball off the second delivery of his first over in that match.
Among players purportedly talking on tape about being paid by IPL franchises in black, is Mohnish Mishra of the Sahara Pune Warriors. The Pune franchise has swiftly distanced itself from the player's alleged statement and has said in a statement, "Mishra's claims that any money was paid to any player over and above the maximum permissible amount is not true."
Kings XI fast bowler Shalabh Srivastav, purportedly on tape demanding Rs. 10 lakh to bowl a deliberate no-ball during an IPL game, says he is innocent and that the audio tape is doctored. "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? The voice in that telephonic conversation is not mine. It is very easy to frame anyone with a doctored audio clip," he had said.
India TV says it stands by its operation, which it says was conducted over a year. Chief Editor of the channel Rajat Sharma said the objective was to lift the cover from illegal operations. He said he did not believe any big players were involved.