Saturday, June 17, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Azhar, Kapil should quit: Dhindsa

NEW DELHI, June 16 (PTI) — Sports Minister S.S. Dhindsa today said all players, including Mohammed Azharuddin and Indian team coach Kapil Dev, should stay out of the national team till they come clear of match-fixing allegations.

“My advice was not only to Azharuddin, it was to all the players against whom match-fixing allegations have been levelled,” Mr Dhindsa told PTI when asked for his reaction to statement of sacked South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje before the Edwin King Commission.

Asked whether Kapil Dev should also step down, Mr Dhindsa said “the advice to step down is to all the players and officials associated with cricket against whom such accusations have been made.”

He said: “We hope the allegations are not true but these coming from a player like Cronje, who has captained his national side and also has taken the blame on himself, needs serious consideration.”

Asked about Azharuddin’s statement that he was being victimised because he belonged to the minority community, Mr Dhindsa shot back saying “this kind of statement will prove disadvantageous to him.”

“No law in this country deals with a crime keeping in mind the religion of the accused, nor does it show leniency to anyone.”

Asked whether India should sue Dr Ali Bacher for damaging the country’s reputation by alleging that India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup match was fixed, Mr Dhindsa said “it was for the BCCI to act and not the government.”

“I have asked the BCCI as to whether they have a code of conduct regarding the players and the officials and suggested them to make necessary changes in view of the match-fixing allegations,” he said.

The Sports Minister said the government was keeping a close watch on the day to day activities of the BCCI after the scandal broke out and has sought report from them regarding the utilisation of huge funds at their command.

“The Board’s day to day activities are under close scrutiny and I have asked for a report regarding the utilisation of the money they have,” Mr Dhindsa said and added that the government wanted to know whether the money was being spent on the younger players or not.

However, he said the government at present was not interfering in the day to day activities of the board as it was an autonomous body.

He reiterated that the government would view leniently if the players come and confess about their links with the bookies and match-fixing operations.

Meanwhile, the CBI is scrutinising several sensitive documents procured from Doordarshan relating to allotment of television rights of cricket matches by the BCCI.

“Some important documents from Doordarshan were being examined by the CBI in the light of allegations that massive bunglings took place in the allotment of telecast rights,” Mr Dhindsa told PTI here.

Asked what steps will be government take in future to stop this malpractice, he said “everything is being done ... let us wait and watch.”

Meanwhile, CBI sources said the agency would go into the details of allotment of television rights and find whether any bungling had been committed or a particular firm had been favoured.

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