BCCI chief defiant, police question Meiyappan (Roundup)

Mumbai/New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Embattled BCCI president N. Srinivasan refused to quit Saturday as his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was sent to police custody till May 29 in connection with the raging spot fixing scam in Indian cricket.

“I have not done anything wrong, I have no intention to resign. I cannot be bulldozed into resigning,” a defiant Srinivasan said in Mumbai amid rising demands that he must give up his post in the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Kamal Nath became the first cabinet minister to demand Srinivasan’s resignation while Law Minister Kapil Sibal promised a legislation soon to deal with corruption in sports.

Saturday was Day 10 of the Indian Premier League’s spot fixing scandal, which began with the arrest three Rajasthan Royals cricketers and has now enveloped both Bollywood and a powerful administrator of the game.

Several bookies have been arrested across the country.

Srinivasan flew into Mumbai from Chennai to meet his son-in-law but left for Kolkata, where his Chennai Super Kings will take on Mumbai Indians in the IPL final Sunday, without seeing him.

“The BCCI will follow its rules,” Srinivasan said. “There is no question of my stepping down. If someone wants to replace me, let him get elected. If I have done something wrong, then it is a different matter.”

Meiyappan has been linked to Bollywood actor Vindoo Dara Singh, arrested earlier for links with bookies who are accused of manipulating IPL matches using inside information from tainted players and others.

Meiyappan, who had initially refused to surrender until Monday, gave himself up late Friday night to Mumbai Police.

After grilling him for three hours, police said they had recovered four mobiles from him which they needed to investigate to ascertain his role in the spot fixing scam.

Besides, investigators who have reportedly taped telephonic conversations he had with suspected bookies want to match his voice samples.

Kamal Nath said Srinivasan should go. “It is absolutely untenable for the BCCI chief to continue, he has no credibility left,” he said in New Delhi.

Srinivasan insisted that “vested interests” did not want him to head the BCCI, the country’s richest sports body. “It will be convenient for people to not have me here. Media has gone overboard against me.”

Kapil Sibal said the government will soon bring a stand-alone legislation to deal with corruption and malpractices in sports.

“We have decided to enact legislation to deal with unfair practices in sports,” he told the media.

“There is no offence under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as of now for unfair practice in sports, so you can’t punish anyone,” Sibal said, adding the government had sought Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati’s opinion.

“The draft of the new law will be ready in three-four days.

“Though we can amend the IPC and incorporate a new offence dealing with dishonest practice in sports, it would be much better to have a stand-alone legislation.

“We cannot let down millions of fans out there for whom cricket is a passion. The new law will not apply to cricket alone but all sports in which such unfair practices are used for changing the outcome of the game in a particular event.

“We would like the law to be as broad as possible, to deal with all kind of unfair practices and in the new age of technology, you can use various means,” he said.

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