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IPL Governing Council suspends five cricketers after India TV sting operation

May 15, 2012 - New Delhi

The Governing Council of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Working Committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday suspended five cricketers for their alleged role in spot fixing matches in the IPL.

The suspended players are: Abhinav Bali, Amit Yadav, Shalabh Srivastava, Mohnish Mishra and T P Sudhindra.

The BCCI and the Governing Council of the IPL issued statements saying that they have set up a committee of inquiry headed by Ravi Sawani to look into the matter thoroughly.

The decision to suspend the players came shortly after the chairman and editor-in-chief of India TV, Rajat Sharma, on Tuesday defended the Indian Premier League (IPL)-related sting operation carried out by his channel, adding that he was ready to defend his channel legally, if necessary.

When asked what he would do if India TV is taken to court over the sting operation, Sharma said: "Of course, in a situation like this, in stories like this, people always say they will take us to court. If they take us to court, we will face it very happily. We are absolutely sure of the facts of the story. We have gone over them again and again, inquired many times."

"And, there are three players, who did not fall in that trap. There are three players, who said (that) 'no we don't want to discuss money'. There are three players, who are saying that 'we are clean and we have shown them'. We have said that these are the players who we really are proud of," he added.

Kings XI Punjab bowler Shalabh Srivastava, who is one of the players shown in the sting operation, had earlier rubbished reports that he was involved in spot fixing. He said he would consider legal action against India TV.

Sharma also informed that Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials have given him assurances that the players involved would be handed out the strictest punishment.

"The only thing I have to tell you is that two top BCCI officials have phoned me and they have told me, that prima facie they are convinced with what they have seen, and at least three players, they are going to take very strict actions, others they are going to examine. This is what the BCCI has told me," he said.

Our team had been working on it for almost one year. So, in the process they must have met almost two dozen. Some of those, who admitted on camera, there are some, who we have shown, who are saying that they don't want to talk about all these things," Sharma revealed.

"So, this is an ongoing process, which went on. I think when the IPL is on, these players are in focus, and this is the best time to show," he added.

Sports Minister Ajay Maken had earlier said it was the BCCI's responsibility to look into the IPL spot-fixing issue. He called for prompt action in the interest of the cricket fans in the country.

"I am sure and wish that BCCI acts fast, goes into the root cause of this problem and solves the problem in the interest of the millions of fans in cricket in our country," said Maken.

"I have just seen a part of what all of you have seen in the sting operation. I am very sure you all know that in cricket, in other sports also, and not only in India, but elsewhere also, we occasionally hear such things happening. But the challenge and the opportunity here lies with the BCCI, as to how far they are able to go to the root cause, go to the bottom of the problem and sort it out," Maken said.

The India TV IPL expose also attracted Parliament's attention and ire, with BJP leader and former cricketer Kirti Azad calling for strict action against the players involved, and adding that suspension was not enough.

Azad asked the government to step up internal auditing of different sports bodies and associations to halt spot fixing in sports.

He also questioned how the second edition of the IPL was shifted to South Africa, causing a tremendous loss of foreign exchange.

India TV has claimed that it undertook the sting operation to see how deep was the malaise of spot fixing in all forms of cricket, including the IPL and first-class matches.

The channel also claimed that women played an important role in match fixing.


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