Is BCCI's Anti-Corruption Unit weighed down by rising state-based T20 leagues?
BCCI's anti-corruption unit is investigating cases of alleged match-fixing in TNPL (Tamil Nadu Premier League Photo)
- BCCI has initiated inquiry over alleged corruption in Tamil Nadu Premier League
- There have been reports of fixers approaching some players in TNPL
- BCCI's Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) keeps a watch on all state-based T20 leagues and the IPL
Over half-a-dozen corrupt approaches have been made to cricketers during the course of this season's Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL). The Board of Control for Cricket in India's Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) as well as Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) are inquiring into the matter.
But TNPL, best known for unearthing talent for IPL, is suddenly facing a credibility crisis. Although BCCI's ACU itself monitored proceedings this year; a first in the league's four year old history. Which begs the question, does the BCCI's ACU has too much on its plate with more and more state units formulating their own T20 leagues?. Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Mumbai Cricket Associations have their T20 leagues going and more are in the pipeline.
Former anti-corruption unit chief of ICC, Ravi Sawani thinks so. "BCCI doesn't have full time employability for these kinds of leagues nor the supervisory resource. Maybe in future they will look at it," Sawani told India Today.
Currently the BCCI's anti-corruption wing, headed by former Rajasthan DGP Ajit Singh Shekhawat, is eight members strong. The ACU chief has sought five to six more intelligence officers and some additional staff but the recruitment is still in the works.
As a result, the BCCI's ACU has been unable to keep a designated officer with each franchise, as has been the practice in the past.
"Till last year we were following a system where we had dedicated integrity officers for each team in TNPL. Officers used to travel with the team, stay with them, develop rapport, build confidence so that they can share anything that is amiss in the system. For some reason that has been stopped," Sawani said.
Sawani's private security company was employed by the TNPL as well as Karnataka Premier League (KPL) until the BCCI decided to bring all anti-corruption cricket operations, including IPL, under its ACU's purview, last year. The IPL was earlier overseen by ICC's anti-corruption unit.
The decision taken by BCCI's Committee of Administrators (CoA) was driven by recommendations of Justice Mudgal committee as well as Lodha committee which discouraged use of ICC's anti-corruption wing for IPL. The committee's argument was the ICC's anti-corruption officers would report to the ICC and not BCCI.
While the BCCI continued the practice of maintaining dedicated integrity officers for each franchise in IPL, it has been unable to follow the practice in state T20 leagues.
BCCI's ACU Chief Ajit Singh however, does not agree the operational change would make a difference. "We had four officers there who covered each and every game and stayed in the team hotels. So it's not just manpower that is required. You have to develop information sources, develop confidence and take exemplary action where required," Singh told India Today.
The other handicap in having fixed integrity officers for state leagues revolves around budgeting. "The fact is even the franchisees are operating on low budget. We can't have dedicated officer for each team like IPL.
"The BCCI ACU is spread out during the competition," TNPL Governing Council Chairman PS Raman clarified.
Sheer manpower may not clinch BCCI its anti-corruption drive but with more and more of its state units exploring the T20 league idea to generate revenue, the susceptibility quotient as well as pressure on its ACU continues to rise.