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IPL 2018: 'IPL by and large clean but can't deny hanky-panky,' says Neeraj Kumar

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https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/cricket/ipl/top-stories/ipl-2018-ipl-by-and-large-clean-but-cant-deny-hanky-panky-says-neeraj-kumar/articleshow/64410394.cms

 

You have had close to three years of association with the BCCI, how has been the experience?

Very rewarding. I got exposure to a totally different world. Although I was associated with major cricketing investigations in the past, to watch it over a sustained period of three years gave me a different perspective (to corruption in cricket).

That is...

That is mostly about the emerging trends of corruption in cricket.

A recent sting operation has revealed that fixing and betting is very much prevalent in the game. But over the last three years, has corruption increased or decreased?

The extent of corruption can never be measured. Just because something has come to light, it does not mean that it has become more and just because nothing has come to light, it has become less. There is no way to measure corruption. What we need to recognise is that the threat of corruption is always there in the game, as in other games. The world has recognised the threat and is taking stringent measures to control it in all sports.

What about the measures in cricket?

Of course, measures have been taken but with my experience I can say that the measures are very half-hearted. They are not adequate.

That is in world cricket or Indian cricket?

Both. In the West Indies for instance, the corruption unit consists of just one office. Same in Zimbabwe. In Sri Lanka, again, one man. In India, there are only three men. In England, the strength has been increased to four or five but in New Zealand and other countries, the number of people is meagre.

Therefore, the boards are still not fully cognizant of the extent of corruption and are not willing to invest in anti- corruption work.

I would not say the same about the ICC (International Cricket Council). It is well equipped. But because of the funds (rather lack of them) and attitude, the boards do not understand the enormity of the problem. They don't take sustained effort to solve the problem.

What about the BCCI? Is it serious about eliminating corruption?

I have already mentioned about the BCCI in my email (to board CEO Rahul Johri), which is in the public domain. The staff has remained the same from the day I joined to the day I left. Nobody wants to know what it (the ACU) is doing. It is just there, ticks a box.

I won't say the BCCI is not serious about eliminating corruption but the ACU needs to be strengthened.

It did not change even after the Committee of Administrators took over?

I will not like to comment on that.

What about the IPL? Is it corruption free?

It is by and large corruption free. Again, because something has not come to our notice, we cannot claim that nothing hanky-panky has happened. Because it is a high-stakes tournament, it is that much more vulnerable to corruption.
 

The (cricket) boards are still not fully cognizant of the extent of corruption and are not willing to invest in anti-corruption work

Neeraj Kumar



Looking back, what do you think you have achieved?

The biggest achievement was unravelling of minor, private and unauthorised leagues which are sources of corruption. We have unearthed them and managed to disrupt them too. Because of that, a number of leagues that were planned were abandoned.

The only reason for having such leagues was to make money out of betting and fixing. The game goes according to a script, some of them would even be listed on betting sites. We succeeded in controlling rather than eliminating them.

The second big success was preventing attempts of pitch-fixing in the IPL last year. We arrested some in Kanpur.

The third thing was that we caught a gang headed by a certain Vijay Barate with the help of Mumbai crime branch and busted his gang which was cheating players by luring them with offers in the IPL.

We arrested one person called Saurav Bhamri, who was involved in cheating cricketers in Bareilly. We have also unearthed a racket in human trafficking. 

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