The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Kale benched for bribe probe

Calcutta, Nov. 21: Maharashtra batsman Abhijit Kale, accused of offering an inducement to selectors Pranab Roy and Kiran More for facilitating a Team India berth, has been suspended by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Beginning today, the suspension is effective for a maximum of six-and-half months. By then, the BCCI is obliged to complete its probe. After that…

With the appointment of a commissioner, Bar Council of India chairman D.V. Subba Rao, stage I is in place. Moreover, he has been advised to complete his inquiry within 15 days.

It’s after three years that a commissioner has been appointed — the last incumbent was former Central Bureau of Investigation top gun K. Madhavan, when match-fixing was probed.

Incidentally, Madhavan’s findings have been challenged.

Once Rao completes his assignment, the BCCI’s disciplinary committee (to be constituted by president Jagmohan Dalmiya) will take over. It must finish work in six months.

As with the commissioner, the committee was last seen in 2000, when punishments related to match-fixing were handed out. It will have three members, including Dalmiya. The others are likely to be vice-presidents.

The commissioner’s report isn’t binding but, then, the disciplinary committee should have very good reasons to disregard the findings.

While acknowledging the Kale affair had hurt Indian cricket, Dalmiya insisted “nothing will be swept under the carpet.” This must be welcomed.

The Vizag-based Rao, currently in Mumbai, said: “I’m not making a detailed comment till I’ve gone through the papers but, yes, such allegations tend to reflect on the system….”

Rao couldn’t confirm whether he will only examine the three principal characters or call the three remaining selectors and BCCI secretary S.K. Nair as well. The secretary convenes the quintet’s meetings.

“Given that I’ll be back in Vizag on Sunday, my work will effectively begin then,” Rao, the Andhra Cricket Association chief, informed.

More, one understands, will be overseas for a while.

The Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) — a Dalmiya-baiter — has instituted its own probe and the hearing is slated for tomorrow. However, MCA’s S.G. Balasaheb Thorve emphasised there won’t be any “awkwardness” and they would “cooperate”.

Thorve, though, added: “We will forward our report to Dalmiya…. Having said that, the selectors should also be investigated.”

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