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Published: Tuesday, November 25, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Former Board officials support Abhijit Kale
New Delhi: Abhijit Kale, the Indian cricketer at the centre of a cash-to-play scandal, has gone to court to challenge his suspension from the game, officials said. Kale filed a suit in a civil court in the Western city of Pune late on Monday against the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA), seeking a stay on his suspension. "We have come to know of Kale having filed the case. We are consulting our lawyers to take appropriate action," MCA chief Balasahab Thorve said on Tuesday. The case is expected to come up for hearing this week. The BCCI last week banned Kale from first-class cricket until it had probed allegations from two national selectors, former Internationals Kiran More and Pranab Roy, that the cricketer offered them bribes to be picked for the ongoing tour of Australia. The selectors alleged in writing to BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya that Kale, a 30- year-old batsman from Maharashtra, offered them a million rupees (21,700 dollars) each for his selection. The offers were rejected, they said. Probe commissioner D V Subba Rao, who is chairman of the Bar Council of India, is set to question Kale and the two selectors in the Southern city of Vishkhapatnam on Saturday. The scandal is the biggest to hit Indian cricket since the match-fixing saga three years ago which led to life bans on former captain Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma and five-year suspensions on fellow Internationals Ajay Jadeja and Manoj Prabhakar. The Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) had on Monday given Kale a clean chit after its own investigation and demanded the two selectors undergo lie-detector tests. Kale, however, named MCA in his petition in court since the BCCI notice to suspend him was routed through the state body, his lawyer said. "The MCA support to Kale in the media is not enough, we expect it to support the player in court also," lawyer Manish Wadekar said. The BCCI's decision to suspend Kale has been criticised by former great Kapil Dev and the Indian Cricket Players Association. "If he is not proven guilty, I wonder how the BCCI will compensate him," Kapil said. "Would the BCCI have acted against any of its officials in the same vein had a finger been raised on any issue?" Kale has scored 6,806 runs in 84 first-class games at an average of 58.67, including 24 centuries. He made 10 in his only International appearance in a Limited Overs tournament in Bangladesh in April and was not considered for the recent home series against New Zealand and Australia. The BCCI is meeting in an emergency session on Sunday to discuss the scandal.