Top Indian officials quit in spot-fixing row

The resignations of Jagdale and Shirke are likely to pile on more pressure on president N. Srinivasan to quit.

Afp May 31, 2013
"I don't want to give any reason, I have sent my resignation to the BCCI president," says Jagdale. Photo: AFP

NEW DEHLI: Two top officials of the Indian cricket board quit on Friday over an escalating spot-fixing scandal, reports said.

Sanjay Jagdale, the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Treasurer Ajay Shirke submitted their resignations to the board president, the NDTV news network and other channels said.

"I don't want to give any reason, I have sent my resignation to the BCCI president," Jagdale was quoted as saying by NDTV.

The resignations of Jagdale, the number two in the board hierarchy, and Shirke were likely to pile on more pressure on president N. Srinivasan to quit.

Srinivasan has been under fire to resign after his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was arrested last week for allegedly betting on Indian Premier League (IPL) matches.

Meiyappan, an executive at the Chennai Super Kings IPL team which is owned by Srinivasan's group India Cements, is being probed by a three-member BCCI commission.

Meiyappan's arrest came after Test paceman Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and two teammates in his IPL franchise the Rajasthan Royals -- Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila -- were also taken into custody.

The trio, who deny any wrongdoing, are in jail in New Delhi after police accused them of deliberately bowling badly in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars after striking deals with bookmakers.

Srinivasan, who was elected as the BCCI president in 2011, has been resisting pressure for him to step down and can only be removed if two-thirds of the board's members vote against him.

Earlier this week, India's sports ministry said Srinivasan should quit on "moral grounds" over the widening scandal that has rocked the sport.

Police suspect that the betting racket is being controlled by international crime syndicates whose bosses are well aware of the rewards if they can manipulate events on the field in the cricket-mad region.

Earlier Friday, Siddharth Trivedi, a paceman with Rajasthan Royals franchise, testifed before a judge in a New Delhi court in the case against his teammates.

"His statement is important because he has told us he has information on some of the bookies arrested by us," the police officer, who is part of the investigating team, told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"Trivedi's statements will be admissible as evidence in the court. It will definitely make our case stronger," the officer said.

Sreesanth, who has played 27 Tests for India, is alleged to have been paid four million rupees ($72,000) to give away around 14 runs in an over while playing against the Kings XI Punjab on May 9.

Chandila and Chavan are said by police to have agreed to similar deals in two other IPL matches.

Spot-fixing is an illegal activity in which a specific part of a game, but not the result, is fixed.

Batting superstar Sachin Tendulkar earlier on Friday voiced distress over the betting and spot-fixing scandal, becoming India's first big-name player to speak out on the issue.

"The developments in the last two weeks have been shocking and disappointing," Tendulkar, the world's leading scorer in both Test and one-day cricket, said.

Also on Friday, a court in Mumbai ruled that Meiyappan and Bollywood actor Vindu Dara Singh Randhawa, would have to remain in police custody until Monday.

Police say Meiyappan passed on match-related information to Randhawa by telephone.


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