Kale offered money to selectors, says BCCI
Published: Friday, December 5, 2003, 19:44 [IST]
Subba Rao submits report to BCCI
Mumbai: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) inquiry has found prima facie material against Abhijit Kale in the matter of alleged offer of bribes to two national selectors "to proceed further" possibly referring it to a disciplinary committee. The inquiry commissioner D V Subba Rao, who heard Kale and the three selectors in Visakhapatnam last week, has said in a report that "the totality of circumstances appeared to indicate a prima-facie case to proceed further." "In order to convince myself that there is a prima-facie case, I have set out reasons elaborately and if the BCCI decides to refer the matter to the disciplinary committee, the committee would have to assess the material placed before them uninfluenced by the views given by me to conclude that there is a prima-facie case," Rao said in his report, portions of which were submitted before the Mumbai High Court hearing Kale's petition challenging the Board's order of suspension against him. The report's contents were submitted to the High Court by the BCCI counsel and Maharashtra Advocate General Goolam Vahanvati. The report found that Kale had contacted selector Kiran More five times on his cell phone and during one such conversation, he had allegedly offered him a bribe of Rs 10 lakh. On August 5, Kale called up another selector Pranab Roy five times and even met him at the Mumbai airport where he allegedly offered him bribe of Rs 10 lakh to be included in the Indian team to tour Australia. Roy turned down the offer, Vahanvati submitted. Earlier this May, Kale's mother allegedly met More at the latter's residence in Baroda and offered him Rs 10 lakh bribe to include Kale in the team, the court was told. The BCCI counsel's submission was made during a hearing on Kale's petition against his suspension by the BCCI. Justice Dilip Bhonsale of the High Court asked Kale to go back to Pune Civil Court on the issue of his suspension. He had originally filed a suit in the Pune Court challenging the BCCI action. Kale filed the appeal in High Court challenging the order of Pune District Court upholding his suspension by BCCI on the charge of allegedly offering bribe to selectors. The player urged that pending BCCI inquiry into the charges, he may be allowed to play matches including the December 9 Ranji Trophy match. He pleaded that BCCI should be directed to complete the probe within a time frame. Kale's lawyer Janak Dwarkadas pleaded that pending the BCCI inquiry, the cricketer may be allowed to play the matches and said the suspension was a stigma on his career. BCCI's lawyer and Advocate General Vahanvati said pending an inquiry, Kale had been suspended and that BCCI had a right to take such an action. Kale's argument that the suspension was a stigma on his career was unfounded, Vahanvati argued. On November 24, he filed a suit in the Pune Civil Court challenging his suspension. The court stayed BCCI's decision to suspend him and allowed him to play the matches. BCCI, however, filed an appeal in Pune District Court, which quashed the lower court order. In effect, Kale's suspension was upheld and being aggrieved against the District Court order, he filed an appeal in High Court.