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7 charged with cricket match-fixing in Bangladesh
Publication Date : 14-08-2013
On a cloudy day at a posh city hotel, a little light was shed on one of the darkest chapters of the country’s sporting history yesterday. David Richardson, the International Cricket Council (ICC) CEO, announced that nine individuals, including three foreigners, had been charged with corruption in the second edition of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).
But Richardson, who said seven had been charged for their alleged involvement in match-fixing or spot-fixing and two others charged for failing to report against corrupt approaches, refrained from mentioning any name, including crest-fallen former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful, on the pretext of what was understood as standard procedure.
The seven facing the more serious fixing-related charges have been provisionally suspended and are immediately barred from participating in all cricket activities organised or recognised by the BCB, the ICC or of the ICC’s member associations, pending resolution of the disciplinary proceedings brought against them.
The obvious point of speculation now surrounds the identity of the remaining eight players and officials barring Ashraful. According to sources, former Bangladesh left-arm spinner Mohammad Rafique, left-arm spinner Mosharraf Hossain, pacer Mahbubul Alam, Gladiators owners Selim Chowdhury and Shihab Chowdhury, its Indian CEO Gaurav Rawat, Sri Lankan spinner Kaushal Lokuarachchi and Englishman Darren Stevens are those charged.
Ashraful, who has been in the eye of the storm ever since his confessional statement to the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) about his involvement not only in this year’s BPL but allegedly also in international games for his country, admitted that he was one of the seven who had been charged with match-fixing in the BPL.
When asked about international match-fixing at the press conference organised jointly by the BCB and the ICC, Richardson said: “Yes, there has been speculation as to what Ashraful might have said in his statement. This investigation will be specific to allegations of fixing or attempts to fix matches in the BPL 2013. The investigation is, however, ongoing. If there are other incidents that do get unearthed, we will make a decision in the later stages if those incidents need to be prosecuted any further. At this stage, however, the charges are related to matches in the BPL 2013 only.
“We place ourselves in an impossible position if we start commenting on whether we are carrying out an investigation [on Bangladesh's corruption involvement in international matches] or not,” he said, adding that this disclosure was a milestone for the ACSU.
It was the end of a long wait for BCB president Nazmul Hassan Papon, but he was not in a position to make it public as under the BCB’s anti-corruption code the organisation is not at liberty to disclose any details until the disciplinary process is completed. “It is a very painful disclosure for us, but at least we have been able to bring the corruption to light,” Papon said.
Richardson also said that all match-fixing and spot-fixing ‘conspiracy’ involved BPL franchisee Dhaka Gladiators, who won the tournament in both editions.
All those charged will now have 14 days to appear before a three-member BCB tribunal and either plead guilty or deny the charges.
The BCB has already started its work on forming a ten-member disciplinary committee headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge, who will also lead the three-member tribunal.
According to Article 6 of the BCB’s anti-corruption code, those found guilty of fixing offences can be suspended for a period between five years up to a lifetime and those guilty of failure to report a corruption approach can be suspended for a period of one to five years.
Corruption in the country’s favourite sport has been the loudest talking point over the last few months, and that will continue as the identities of the accused remain a mystery. Therefore, yesterday’s disclosure from the high-voltage press conference was just the lifting of one curtain to reveal the first among many more that remain.