Connect with us

Analysis

Corruptors seem a step ahead of enforcement agencies

Published

on

Match-fixing
Pic Credit : The Economist

It is all nice to say that fans deserve fairplay, not cheating and corruption. Yet, allegations of betting, spot-fixing and match-fixing keep sprouting in the world of sport, and corruptors seem a step ahead of the sports authorities and the law enforcement agencies.

And it is difficult to catch thieves when hundreds of players are playing the game all over the world, more so in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Afghanistan has just got into the big boys league, having played their first Test match against India a few months ago. Of the big four, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have won the World Cup and all three are troubled by the nefarious activities of their players.

Bangladesh is seen as a rising team, but they, too, have caught up with the other three in matching their high levels of corruption.

It is not that only the subcontinental sides are corrupt, some of the top players from South Africa, England, Australia, New Zealand and West Indies have also faced allegations, charges and got punished.

Some were even jailed, too, while some others were discharged by the courts of law on technical infirmities in the prosecution. A couple of them successfully challenged the charges and got hefty compensations.

The names of players who have been banned or suspended for indulging in corrupt practices is public knowledge. The new element that has crept into corrupting the game is the mushrooming international leagues, the Indian Premier League showing them the way.

Corruption in cricket is back in board rooms and coffee table discussions, courtesy the Pakistani leg-spinner Danish Kaneria, admitting that he had indeed fouled the English cricket atmosphere with his despicable spot-fixing almost a decade ago, and the International Cricket Council (ICC) charging the legendary Sri Lankan Sanath Jayasuriya with non-cooperation in its ongoing investigation into Sri Lankan cricket.

While disclosing the Jayasuriya case, the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit General Manager Alex Marshall also mentioned something that he, perhaps, thought a revelation, that most bookies operating around the world are Indian, without saying why his agency is unable to fix them.

It took six years for Kaneria to have a change of heart after vehemently denying that he had any role in spot-fixing during an Essex-Durham 40-over NatWest game in 2009 and accusing the jailed teammate Mervyn Westfield of ruining his cricket career by dragging him into it.

Kaneria, 37, who has been banned from playing in England by the England and Wales Board, had a successful career, having been the fourth highest wicket-taker with 261 Test wickets behind Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Imran Khan.

Kaneria got his script well written and rehearsed to say “he can’t live a life of lies” and like a saint with a past, apologised to Westfield, his Essex teammates and his own family.

The charge against Kaneria is that he pressurised Westfield to bowl an over costing 12 runs, and for that got paid 6,000 pound sterling, though he conceded only 10. For that the medium-fast bowler was jailed for four months.

As if on cue, the Essex Police said they would be reassessing the investigation in the wake of Kaneria’s admission.

Coming to Marshall, he sounded like President Donald Trump, who expressed his helplessness in imposing sanctions against Saudi Arabia.

Like Trump, who says placing sanctions against Saudi Arabia will hurt the Americans more than the Saudis in view of their sale of arms and military equipment to Riyadh, Marshall seem to imply that taking action against the Indians will hurt the world cricketing body more than the Indians!!

Marshall, however, had no hesitation in saying that the island nation’s case involves both local and Indian corruptors. He picked 12-20 active corruptors, six of these the players should be careful about, and showed their pictures to the England and Sri Lankan teams which are now playing a bilateral series in the island nation.

Jayasuriya’s case is surmised to be one of a couple of ongoing investigations into alleged corruption in Sri Lanka and many, including former captain Arjuna Ranatunga, believe that it could lead right up to the top of the cricket set-up and players.

Shockingly, the probe relates to the time Jayasuriya was the chief selector for a second time in 2016-17 when Sri Lanka lost the final match for a 2-3 series defeat, raising doubts about the team’s effort.

If what Ranatunga and others say is true then it only reaffirms the role the officials and influential players play in corrupting the game.

(Veturi Srivatsa is a senior journalist and the views expressed are personal. He can be reached at [email protected])

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Analysis

YouTube testing new video recommendation format: Report

Published

on

San Francisco, Jan 16 : Google-owned video sharing platform YouTube is testing a new video recommendation format that displays blue bubbles on the screen with relevant keywords and related topic suggestions, facilitating easier browsing, media reported.

“The screenshots obtained show these blue bubbles just underneath the video player showing more specific video recommendations,” The Verge reported on Tuesday.

The video-sharing platform is currently testing the feature with some users on its main desktop page as well as on the mobile app.

For sometime now users have been complaining that the videos recommended on the side on YouTube’s interface often have little to do with the current video, making recommendations a point of contention for the platform.

“It’s unclear if the videos that populate from the new recommendation bubbles will face similar algorithmic issues that YouTube’s recommendation feed currently suffers,” the report added.

There has not been any word from YouTube as of now on the working of these blue bubbles and whether or not they will roll out the test feature to a bigger group in the coming months.

Continue Reading

Analysis

2002 Gujarat riots: Judge P.B. Desai ignored evidence, says activist Harsh Mander

Published

on

Harsh Mander

New Delhi, Jan 9 : Special SIT court judge P.B. Desai “ignored evidence” that former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was killed in a mob attack in Ahmedabad’s Gulberg Housing Society during the 2002 riots, did all that was possible within his power to protect Muslims from the “rage of the mob” and instead echoed the position of then Chief Minister Narendra Modi that his killing was only a “reaction” to his “action” of shooting at the mob, says human rights activist Harsh Mander.

He says that “the learned judge”, who retired in December 2017, overlooked statements by surviving witnesses that Jafri made repeated desperate calls to senior police officers and other persons in authority, “including allegedly Chief Minister Modi”, pleading that security forces be sent to “disperse the crowd” and rescue those “against whom the mob had laid a powerful siege”.

Mander, who quit the IAS in Gujarat in the wake of the riots, makes these observations in his just released book, “Partitions of the Heart: Unmaking the Idea of India”, published by Penguin.

The 66-year-old activist, who works with survivors of mass violence and hunger as well as homeless persons and street children, goes on to quote the late journalist Kuldip Nayar to establish that Jafri had desperately telephoned him, “begging him to contact someone in authority to send in the police or the Army to rescue them”.

Mander says Nayar rang up the Union Home Ministry to convey to it the seriousness of the situation. The Home Ministry said it was in touch with the state government and was “watching” the situation. Jafri called again, pleading with Nayar to do something as the mob was threatening to lynch him.

In the chapter titled “Whatever happened in Gulberg Society?”, Mander contends that Jafri did everything within his power to protect “those who believed that his influence would shield them from the rage of the mob”. Mander says Jafri begged the mob to “take his life instead” and in a show of valour went out “to plead and negotiate” with the angry crowd.

“When he realised that no one in authority would come in for their protection, he also did pick up his licensed firearm and shoot at the crowd…,” Mander notes, describing it as the “final vain bid” on behalf of Jafri to protect the Muslims in the line of fire.

The author notes that in describing Jafri’s final resort to firing as an illegitimate action, the judge only echoed the position taken repeatedly by Modi, who had given an interview to a newspaper in which he had said that it was Jafri who had first fired at the mob.

“He forgot to say what a citizen is expected to do when a menacing mob, which has already slaughtered many, approaches him and the police has deliberately not responded to his pleas,” says Mander.

He says that it was as if even when under attack and surrounded by an armed mob warning to slaughter them, “and with acid bombs and burning rags flung at them”, a good Muslim victim should do nothing except plead, and this would ensure their safety.

Ehsan Jafri’s wife Zakia Jafri, according to Mander, was firmly convinced that her husband was killed because of a conspiracy that went right to the top of the state administration, beginning with Modi. The author notes that the court, in its judgement running into more than 1,300 pages, disagreed.

“It did indict 11 people for the murder but they were just foot soldiers,” observed Mander.

He further says that the story the survivors told the judge over prolonged hearings was consistent but Judge Desai was convinced that there was “no conspiracy behind the slaughter” and that the administration did all it could to control it.

“Jafri, by the judge’s reckoning, and that of Modi, was responsible for his own slaughter,” he laments.

Mander also argues in the book that recurring episodes of communal violence in Ahmedabad had altered the city’s demography, dividing it into Hindu and Muslim areas and Gulberg was among the last remaining “Muslim” settlements in the “Hindu” section of the city.

He says that Desai also disregarded the evidence in the conversations secretly taped by Tehelka reporters, mentioning that superior courts, according to Desai himself, have ruled that while a person cannot be convicted exclusively based on the evidence collected in such “sting operations”, such evidence is certainly “admissible as corroborative proof”.

“But he chose to disregard this evidence, not because there was proof that these video recordings were in any way doctored or false but simply because the Special Investigative Team (SIT) appointed by the Supreme Court of India chose to ignore this evidence,” says Mander.

According to Mander, the Tehelka recordings “certainly supported the theory that there was indeed a plan to collect, incite and arm the mob to undertake the gruesome slaughter”.

The SIT was headed by R.K. Raghavan, today Ambassador to Cyprus. Mander contends in the book that just because the investigators did not pursue Tehelka recordings in greater depth, Desai concluded that the “recordings cannot be relied upon as trustworthy of substantial evidence and establish any conspiracy herein”.

In the book, Mander takes stock of whether India has upheld the values it had set out to achieve and offers painful, unsparing insight into the contours of violence. The book is now available both online and in bookstores.

(Saket Suman can be contacted at [email protected])

Continue Reading

Analysis

Number of suicides highest in Army amongst three services

In the Air Force, the number of suspected suicides was 21 in 2017 and 19 in 2016. For the Navy, these numbers were 5 and 6 for 2017 and 2016, respectively.

Published

on

Ajit Doval

New Delhi, Jan 7 : The number of defence personnel committing suicide was highest in the Army amongst the three services in the last three years, data shows.

In 2018 alone, as many as 80 Army personnel are believed to have committed suicide. This number is 16 for Air Force and 08 for the Navy, Minister of State (MoS) for Defence Subhash Bhamre told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply on Monday.

In 2017, the number of Army men who are suspected to have committed suicide was 75, while in 2016 this number was 104.

In the Air Force, the number of suspected suicides was 21 in 2017 and 19 in 2016. For the Navy, these numbers were 5 and 6 for 2017 and 2016, respectively.

In his reply, the Minister said that various steps have been taken by the armed forces to create healthy environment for their officers and other ranks.

“Some of the steps include provision of better facilities such as clothing, food, married accommodation, travel facilities, schooling, recreation etc and periodic welfare meetings, promoting yoga and meditation as a tool for stress management, and training and deployment of psychological counsellors,” the reply read.

It said mental health awareness is provided during pre-induction training.

Besides, institutionalisation of projects “MILAP” and “SAHYOG” by the Army in Northern and Eastern Commands to reduce stress among troops has been done.

A helpline has also been established by the Army and the Air Force to provide professional counselling.

IANS

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Most Popular