BCCI mulls further action against Kale
Published: Friday, December 5, 2003, 22:21 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2001
Kale offered money to selectors, says BCCI
New Delhi: India's cricket chiefs were considering further action against Abhijit Kale after a preliminary inquiry suggested he might have tried to buy his place in the national team. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will form a disciplinary committee to investigate Kale, the 30-year-old Maharashtra batsman at the centre of the cash- for-caps scandal. Two selectors, Kiran More and Pronob Roy, have alleged in writing that Kale offered them each a bribe of one million rupees (22,000 dollars) to get picked for the national team. Probe commissioner D V Subba Rao, who met Kale and the selectors last week, recommended to the BCCI there was a "prima facie case to proceed further" in the case. "We are studying Rao's report and it is obvious there is a case for further action," a BCCI official said on Friday, adding the disciplinary committee would be formed soon. Rao's report was on Thursday placed before the Bombay High Court, where Kale challenged his suspension from first-class cricket until the investigation was over. The report, shown to the media by lawyers from both sides, says Rao found it strange that Kale had telephoned the two selectors at least 10 times between May and August. Kale's mother had also visited More's residence in Baroda to plead her son's case for selection, the report quotes More as telling the inquiry. "A player persistently phoning selectors is itself not proper, and phoning for selection is worse," the report states. "Kale's mother visiting More's Baroda residence further points the needle of suspicion against him." Kale told the inquiry that he not phoned the selectors only to inform them about his fitness and insisted that he had not made any offer either to More or Roy, both former internationals. The cricketer admitted that his mother had visited More, but said she had gone to deliver his fitness certificate, the report said. Kale on Friday maintained that the inquiry report did not show he was guilty. "The inquiry has only found some prima facie stuff against me," he told reporters. "The report does not say I am guilty. You can't prove that at all. I am willing to meet the disciplinary committee of the BCCI. I am confident I will play again." Kale declined to comment on his future course if the disciplinary committee pressed charges against him. The scandal is the biggest to hit Indian cricket since the match-fixing saga three years ago that led to life bans on former captain Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Sharma and five-year suspensions on fellow internationals Ajay Jadeja and Manoj Prabhakar. Kale has been a prolific scorer in domestic cricket with 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 or the ongoing tour of Australia.