Thatscricket- Cricket News - Ministry panel to hear Azhar, Jadeja on Arjuna
Published: Saturday, January 6, 2001, 21:45 [IST]
New Delhi: Banned cricketers Mohammed Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja and Manoj Prabhakar will be heard by the Sports Ministry at a proceeding beginning January 8 on the withdrawal of Arjuna Awards given to them. Jadeja has been asked to appear before a panel of the ministry, constituted for this purpose by Sports minister Uma Bharti, on January 8, ministry sources said. Jadeja was banned from playing cricket for five years by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for his nexus with bookies. On January 9, Azharuddin would show cause to the notice given by the Sports Ministry as to why his Arjuna Award should not be withdrawn following a life ban imposed on him by the Board. Prabhakar would be the last to appear before the panel on January 10, the sources said, adding that thereafter the panel would examine the banned players' responses before taking a decision under Clause 17 of the Arjuna Award Rules. Prabhakar, Azharuddin and Jadeja were given Arjuna Awards in 1993, 1996 and 1997 respectively. Clause 17 reads, "The Government of India may cancel or annul the Award to any person and thereupon the recipient shall be required to surrender the Statuette and the scroll of honour but it shall be competent for the Government of India to restore the Award once the cancellation and annulment has been withdrawn." Bharti had said the cricketers involved in the match-fixing scandal had disgraced the country and the government would take stringent action against them. Replying to questions as to why the awards were being taken back from them before they were proved guilty in a court of law, the minister said there was a condition that if the winner of the coveted award "dishonoured" the country, it could be withdrawn. Maintaining that match-fixing was a "heinous crime", Bharti said she had also written to the Law Ministry to amend existing laws to put an end to the menace.