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Law to curb sports frauds soon: Sibal
R Sedhuraman & MS Unnikrishnan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 25
Law Minister Kapil Sibal today said the government had decided to enact a comprehensive, standalone national law to check match-fixing, spot-fixing and other dishonest practices in cricket and other sports.

Even as Sibal made an announcement about the new law, sports ministers and secretaries of states and Union Territories attending a two-day conference at Vigyan Bhawan here agreed that the Centre should develop a model sports law for adoption by the states.

Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Jitendra Singh underlined the need for good governance (as enunciated in the IOC Charter), cleansing of sports and bringing transparency in the working of sports federations. He said the Sports Ministry was working in tandem with the Law Ministry and the Home Ministry on checking betting and fixing in sports.

The proposed Central law would also cover foreign players participating in events held in India and even suspicious “gestures” by any person sitting among the spectators.

“We cannot let down millions of fans for whom cricket is a passion and is almost like a religion. However, the proposed law will not only apply to cricket, but also to all other sports,” Sibal told reporters outlining the contours of the draft law.

Sibal said the draft legislation would be fine-tuned in two or three days and then forwarded to the Sport Ministry for wider consultations with experts and all stakeholders before being taken to the Union Cabinet and introduced in Parliament.

He said BJP leader Arun Jaitley and IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla met him yesterday and agreed on the need for enacting a law “as soon as possible” to curb malpractices in sports aimed at influencing the course or outcome of matches and making money through illegal means.

Right from mere gestures by spectators or others involved in match or spot-fixing to the use of advanced technology to interfere with the natural course of any match would be made a criminal offence under the new law, Sibal said.

Besides the players, the law would also deal with bookies, corporates, companies and criminals involved in such rackets and would give a new definition to “dishonest practices,” he said.

Asked about the maximum punishment contemplated under the law, the minister said the draft legislation was still in the works and as such it was too early to go into its specifics. Asked whether the BCCI would be covered under the new law, Sibal said it would deal with anyone found involved in dishonest practices.

He, however, made it clear that the alleged match and sport-fixings in the ongoing IPL matches and those arrested and being interrogated by the police for their role would not be brought under the new legislation as no law could have retrospective effect. Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Jitendra Singh said the Sports Ministry would also revamp the Panchayat Yuva Krida Aur Khel Abhiyan (PYKKA) to make sports popular all over the country, and also to provide sports facilities to children in villages.

He said the Centre would play an active role in providing funds to create sports complexes at identified locations at the block level in various disciplines in indoor and outdoor games. He said funds up to Rs 1.75 crores would be provided for the construction of such complexes, with a total estimated budget of Rs 12, 500 crore.

Jitendra Singh also announced that the Sports Authority of India would set up 25 centres of excellence (CoX) across the country, with each such centre specialising in three to four sports disciplines.

He asked the state governments to provide free land and built-up sports infrastructure for setting up these centres. He also announced that the Centre would set up two national institutes-one for sports and medicine, and another for sports coaching-in addition to the existing ones at Patiala and Bangalore. The minister also announced a new sports scholarship scheme, under which up to 10 scholarships in different disciplines of sports science and sports medicine would be offered every year.

We cannot let down millions of fans for whom cricket is a passion and is almost like a religion. However, the proposed law will not only apply to cricket, but also to all other sports. — Kapil Sibal, law minister














Guru in police custody till May 29
Shiv Kumar
tribune news service

Mumbai, May 25
Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of BCCI president N Srinivasan and former CEO of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) team, who was arrested last night, was remanded in police custody till May 29 today.

Meiyappan was produced before Metropolitan Magistrate MP Paaghe. Mumbai police officers told the Magistrate that his custody was needed to get to the bottom of the spot-fixing racket.

The police said Meiyappan used to place “huge bets” on IPL matches and was even divulging team’s strategy to bookies. He was in regular contact with bookies and placed huge bets on the outcome of cricket matches.

The police was also probing into Meiyappan’s links with Pakistani umpire Assad Rauf and wanted to question him about the telephonic calls he made to Vindoo Dara Singh even while matches were on.

The crime branch application said it also wanted to look into the financial arrangement between Vindoo and Meiyappan. “Guru made calls to Vindoo while matches were underway. Vindoo then called bookies with information,” it said.

Police officials later told reporters that actor Vindoo Dara Singh acted like a link among Meiyappan and some bookies. They wanted to question Meiyappan about his transactions with bookies, they said.

One of the bookies had allegedly left a “parcel” with Vindoo to be handed over to Rauf, who by that time had left India. Vindoo had allegedly facilitated the escape of the bookie to Dubai. The police said that it also needed to seize four mobile phones used by Gurunath. Police officials said Meiyappan was “evasive” and “non-cooperative” during questioning. “He was not as cooperative as we expected him to be. He was evasive about several questions,” police officials said.

Public prosecutor Wajid Shaikh had sought seven-day police remand of Meiyappan. Defence counsel Abad Ponda, however, described as “illegal” Meiyappan’s arrest, saying if a person appeared before the police pursuant to summons, he could not be arrested.

“Moreover, there is no wrongful gain and nobody was cheated,” he said.

(with PTI inputs) 

What police said

Meiyappan was in regular contact with bookies and placed huge bets on the outcome of cricket matches

He also divulged Chennai Super Kings’s match strategy to bookies

He was evasive and non-cooperative during questioning

Probe was also on into Meiyappan’s links with Pakistani umpire Assad Rauf.



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