Former monk, accomplice approached woman player to fix matches
CHENNAI: A former practising hermit along with his accomplice was booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Karnataka Police Act for approaching an international woman cricketer to fix matches. The approach was made in February ahead of a bilateral series between India women and their England counterparts. The player was approached by Rakesh Bafna in February. The woman cricketer, who didn’t feature in the scheduled series, recorded the conversation she had with the accused and reported the matter to the BCCI’s Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) along with the recorded conversation.
“We handed over the proof to the ICC’s ACSU, who then investigated the matter. It applauded the player and reprimanded the accused,” Ajit Singh, BCCI’s ACSU head, told this newspaper on Monday. “After the international body completed its investigation, we reopened the case and investigated further. We found that Bafna was hand in glove with another suspect Jitendra Kothari, who used to pose as a sports manager. After gathering enough evidence, we reported the matter to the Bengaluru police, who registered a case under sections 421, 116 and 109 of the IPC and section 79 of the Karnakata Police Act against the duo,” Singh added.
When queried why Bafna was allowed to walk free despite the alleged approach to fix matches, Singh said, “ACUs of the ICC or even the BCCI don’t have penalising powers. The ICC doesn’t have any jurisdiction in India. So we decided to take the matter to its logical conclusion by investigating the case further.”
It was learnt that though the duo hail from Rajasthan, Bafna owns a garment shop in Cuttack while Kothari runs an NGO from Gurugram. “One of the two accused had earlier left worldly pleasures to embrace monkhood. But he returned to lead a normal life soon afterwards,” sources in the know told to this newspaper. However, this fact could not be ascertained independently. “The police will now investigate the matter and depending on findings, will arrest the accused,” the BCCI ACSU head said.