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Sunday, May 19, 2013

IPL: The Slimy World Of Sin!



It was happening all the time; it was only waiting to get exposed. Since the inception of IPL in 2008 we have been steadfastly asserting our opposition to IPL in these pages and following last year’s sting operation we had indicated that the underbelly of IPL was waiting to explode. Unfortunately what is being played in various stadiums is cricket of course, but the myriad layers of corruption surrounding it are far removed from the game and are sinister games in themselves. IPL has always been a sordid saga of sin, greed, lust, slam and glam, rampant betting and money laundering, underworld sponsorships and blackmail. Most of the revelers filling the stadiums go there to freak out, have wild picnics, enjoy cricket movies and shout their throats out. They are hardly cricket fans!

Delhi Police, always lambasted for its shoddy handling of crimes against women,  does good work this time by hauling up three Indian Premiere League (IPL) cricket-fixers in the dead of the night of Wednesday, the 15th of May, 2013 from a five-star hotel in Mumbai. Working on phone transcripts indicating dubious exchanges between players and bookies, parties where women mixed freely with players and others, and making sure the evidence was enough the three players were arrested and taken to Delhi for interrogation and police custody. The spot fixing episode became bigger with bookie and underworld connections spanning various cities of India, and Pakistan and Dubai. Eleven bookies were also arrested in the following days. This huge story broke around noon of Thursday—the 16th of May—when all media attention was focused on the surrender of the mega movie star ‘Munnabhai’ Sanjay Dutt who finally gave himself up at a special court in Mumbai after running out of all appealing options for his involvement in the Serial Blast Case of Mumbai in 1993. Another huge day for the media was thus created.

The three IPL cheats were—Sreesanth who played both Tests and one-day internationals, and was known to be a volatile, emotional and aggressive cricketer and who became famous in IPL after the slap he received from Harbhajan Singh; Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila both of whom are spinners. All three cheats belonged to the franchise owned by film actress Shilpa Shetty, Rajasthan Royals. Using codes while in action on the field they spot fixed at least three matches played by their team.

Yesterday Mumbai Police made some more progress by seizing Sreesanth’s laptop, I-Pad, mobile phones and some cash from the five-star hotel where they stayed on their own and not on the hospitality of the IPL—another dubious finding. Mumbai Police is also having access to the CCTV footage of the hotel and reports indicate that the bookies might have tried to lure the players not only with huge cash but also with women, and even tried to blackmail them by making MMS of their sex orgies. Delhi Police has also been trying to access CCTV footage of other hotels involving other matches and a whole lot of players. The full IPL-6 and other versions are fixed tournaments? You hardly know!

And, the father of IPL, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has done nothing so far apart from suspending the three players. (To be continued…)

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