India come out worst in 'fixing' probe

Written by: S K Sham
Published: Monday, August 28, 2000, 0:00 [IST]
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It is cricket with mop-and-broom than that of the bat-and-ball variety that is more in the news these days, what with the preoccupation of the administration being the all-round cleaning up process.

We are still far away from arriving at the final conclusions on the guilt or otherwise of several players named in the betting and match-fixing cases. One can, however, easily draw comparisons in the approaches of the Cricket Boards and the investigating agencies of countries, which are in the forefront of the controversy preoccupation

In this regard, India has come out as the worst. If at all some headway has been made so far, it has been entirely due to the efforts of the investigating agencies, like the Delhi police, CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) and Income Tax authorities.

The Pakistani Board started in all earnestness, but when the truth was as good as out, via the Qayyam Commission findings, a large-scale cover-up followed. The entire report was watered down.

In our country, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) continue to shy away from the issue, as much as they can, from their legal and moral responsibilities. The latest act, in this regard, is the stalling of a definite decision on the question of sacking Kapil Dev as national coach. The BCCI chief visited New Delhi, met the former Indian captain, but did not have the gumption to tell him off.

If at all an honest effort has been made so far, it has come from the independent King Commission appointed by the South African government, as soon as Hansie Cronje was sacked as captain.

The King Commission's interim report was made public last Friday without any fuss. Earlier, it had been presented to the President of the country, Mr. Thabu Mbeki. The 66-page interim report, makes no recommendations on any action to be taken just as yet.

Judge Edwin King says in his concluding statement, "It will be Appreciated that until all the evidence has been heard, no aspect of the inquiry can be, or regarded, as finalised."

There is, according to him, a lot of work yet to be done. The names such As "John," Sanjay Chawla, MK (Mukesh Gupta), Hamid "Banjo" Cassim and Mohammed Azharuddin, which came out during the deposition of Hansie Cronje before the Commission, have kept on repeating. But there is no doubt there are many more names that are still hidden, is King's conclusion of the interim report.

Even though the last word has not been had on the subject, the interim report of the King Commission goes a long way in countering the organised whitewash of Hansie Cronje through a three-part programme on South African TV channel M-Net. The first part, which did everything to draw sympathy for Hansie Cronje, with the refrain that all his acts with bookmakers and his colleagues were "just so many mistakes".

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