To tackle the “growing menace” of corruption in sports, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will soon set up a specialised unit to handle cases related to sports fraud like fixing and illegal betting. Making the announcement at the FIFA-Interpol workshop on Wednesday, CBI Director Ranjit Sinha said that there is lack of a legal framework in probing cases related to sports fraud and corruption.
“We, in CBI, have taken due notice of growing menace of corruption in sports in general and challenges in football and other sports in particular…. Very soon we shall set up a sports fraud investigation unit in the CBI under special crime branches,” he said.
Sinha said the unit will act as repository of intelligence and data related to corruption in sports.
“It shall coordinate with other law enforcement agencies of the world and act as a nodal agency to coordinate with states’ police forces. It shall be our endeavour to coordinate with sports federations to build capabilities to tackle match-fixing and corrupt practices,” he said.
CBI officials also said that at present there is no legal framework for probing corruption in sports, but a law to tackle corruption in sports is in the final stages of drafting by the Sports Ministry.
“We will send a proposal to the central government for setting up this unit. Although there is no law, we can still carry on enquiries like we did in 2002 in cricket match fixing till law proposed by the Sports Ministry comes into force. The purpose is to be prepared when the law is there,” said a CBI official.
The CBI director said match fixing and other forms of sports frauds are spreading. “It is now known to all the enforcement agencies that betting networks operate very smoothly and efficiently in the country. Their tentacles spread even to small towns,” Sinha said, adding that the advancement in communication technology is facilitating the growth of betting syndicates. “From the law enforcement perspective, it will be a mistake to conclude that corruption in sports in India is limited to cricket alone. The organised betting racket has to just change their focus to football and the entire football world will have a formidable adversary to deal with,” he said.
Subrata Dutta, senior vice-president, All India Football Federation, who was also present at the event, said that in the coming executive committee meeting, he would propose setting up of an anti-corruption unit to work in tandem with Interpol and CBI.