Some players from Kings XI Punjab may have indulged in suspicious activities linked to throwing matches, and the Indian board’s anti-corruption team has not been able to effectively tackle the menace, the IPL team’s co-owner Preity Zinta told BCCI officials during a meeting this month.
Zinta told officials who attended the IPL working group meeting on August 8 that she had seen such activities from close quarters and had wanted to speak earlier about this but possessed no proof, sources told The Indian Express.
Zinta also said that she had felt at times that some IPL matches involving her team had followed a pre-decided pattern.
Apart from various stakeholders in the league, the meeting was attended by all four members of the working group — IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur, BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary and former India captain Sourav Ganguly.
The BCCI had formed the group on July 21 to devise a roadmap for IPL 9 after studying the implications of the Justice R M Lodha Committee’s report on corruption in the league and its order suspending Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for two years.
Shukla and Thakur were not available for comment. The Indian Express tried to reach Zinta for over a week through the Kings XI management and her publicist but couldn’t obtain a response. “Zinta could not be reached as she was travelling,” said a spokesperson.
According to sources, Zinta told officials that she came to know about suspicious activities in the league after people predicted the outcome of a game or a period of play in her presence, and they proved accurate.
The Bollywood actor further told officials that she had been a psychology student and could comprehend the body language and read the mind of players, sources said. She claimed that she had pulled up players who she thought weren’t playing fair, dropped them from games and even put them up for auction, they added.
She said that she even confronted a player angrily over this issue once and tipped off other franchises about the players she suspected, sources said.
Asked by officials why she failed to report her suspicions to the BCCI’s Anti-Corruption Security Unit (ACSU), Zinta replied that the unit could only stop players from talking to someone or curb their movements, sources said.
The IPL working group, which is being assisted by the BCCI’s legal advisor U N Banerjee, is expected to submit a final report at the board’s working committee meeting in Kolkata on August 28.