Over two-and-a-half years after he was arrested by Delhi Police for his alleged involvement in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing, former Rajasthan Royals off-spinner Ajit Chandila has been banned for life from all cricket activities by the BCCI. Former Mumbai batsman Hiken Shah, who had been suspended by the cricket board for “making an approach” to a Ranji team mate to fix a game, was given a five-year ban. The decisions were taken after the BCCI disciplinary committee comprising president Shashank Manohar, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Niranjan Shah met in Mumbai on Monday. The committee gave the ex-ICC elite panel umpire from Pakistan Asad Rauf, who was allegedly in contact with bookmaker Vindu Dara Singh, “a final opportunity to submit his written statement” before February 9.
The BCCI has a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards corruption and punishments for Chandila and Shah were in line with its efforts to clean-up the game. A member of the disciplinary committee, however, bemoaned the transgressions made by the players. “Indian players are so well looked after. They are handsomely paid by the board/(IPL) franchises. It’s unfortunate that some of them still chose the wrong path. Maybe it’s down to greed. Lack of proper education could be a reason as well but Hiken Shah looked to have a decent educational background when he appeared before the committee. I think it’s a mental problem,” said the committee member on condition of anonymity.
The BCCI media release said: “Ajit Chandila: He is held guilty of misconduct and corruption within the Articles 2.1.1; Article 2.1.2; Article 2.1.3; Article 2.1.4; Article 2.2.2; Article 2.2.3; Article 2.4.1 of the BCCI Anti Corruption Code.
“Ajit Chandila is banned for Life from playing or representing cricket in any form or to be associated in any way with the activities of the Board or its Affiliates.
“2. Hiken Shah: He is held guilty of committing breach of Articles 2.1.1; Article 2.1.2 and Article 2.1.4 of the BCCI Anti Corruption Code. “Hiken Shah is banned for five years from playing or representing cricket in any form or to be associated in any way with the activities of the Board or its Affiliates.”
Meanwhile, a source informed that both players denied any wrongdoings when they met the committee. But the BCCI investigation found them guilty. It, however, took a little too long to take a concrete action against Chandila. He was suspended by the board in May 2013. Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan, had been banned for life in September that year.
“Our Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) chief couldn’t question him (Chandila) because he was in jail (longer than the other two). But I don’t know why the previous (disciplinary) committee took so much time (to act). The present committee was formed in November and after that we had to follow the procedure. First, notices had to be issued followed by personal hearings,” a senior board official explained.
A Delhi court had dropped all charges against Chandila, Sreesanth and Chavan in July last year saying: “All the necessary ingredients to establish a prima facie case under the provisions of MCOCA is not made out”.
Rauf’s hearing was scheduled today but he didn’t appear in person, asking for a “de novo enquiry” instead by “appointing another enquiry officer”. The disciplinary committee rejected his plea. “The Committee gave him a final opportunity to submit his written statement if any, and produce documents on which he proposes to rely on before February 9, 2016. The date of the hearing and the final order has been scheduled for February 12, 2016 at Cricket Centre, Mumbai,” said the BCCI release.