Abhijit Kale banned till year-end

Published: Wednesday, June 2, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Kolkata:The unprecedented Abhijit Kale bribery episode culminated in the suspension of the Maharashtra cricketer till this year end by the disciplinary committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for trying to influence the national selectors for a berth in the Indian team.

The three-member disciplinary committee headed by BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya, which was closeted for little over two hours, decided to take a lenient action since there was no "direct proof" of offering money to the selectors and because Kale had sent an unconditional apology to the Board while admitting that he tried to "influence the selectors".

The committee unanimously held that although a strong case of offering money was made against Kale, no extreme or severe punishment should be given to him in the absence of direct proof, Dalmiya told newsmen after the meeting.

But the committee held him guilty of 'gross misconduct and indiscipline' for trying to influence the selectors directly or through his parents, he said.

Dalmiya said that the committee also took into account Kale's future personal career and his unconditional apology and hence decided to suspend him till December 31, 2004.

Kale has been under suspension since November 21 last year, a few days after the controversy erupted when the two national selectors, Kiran More and Pranab Roy, informed the Board that the Maharashtra cricketer offered them Rs 10 lakh each for a berth in the Australia bound Indian team.

Kale has already been suspended from the first-class cricket till adjudication of the matter and the disciplinary committee issued a show cause to him after framing charges on the basis of prima facie material found against him by a one-man inquiry commission headed by chairman of the Bar Council of India D V Subba Rao.

Dalmiya also informed that Kale had furnished a letter to the committee on May 15 in which he admitted trying to influence the selectors but denied having offered any money to them.

Kale in his letter said, ''the entire episode had unnecessarily tarnished the image of the Board. I accept that it was wrong on my part to influence the selectors by approaching them directly or through my parents.

With regard to the issue of offering money to the selectors, I wish to state that I was misunderstood and I assure you that I had no such intention. I tender unqualified apology for my said act.''

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