Law soon to deal with malpractices in sports: Sibal

New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Amid widening ambit of investigations into the IPL-6 spot fixing scam, Law Minister Kapil Sibal Saturday said that the government will soon bring a stand-alone law to deal with malpractices in sports.

“We have decided to enact a stand-alone legislation to deal with unfair practices in sports. We cannot let down millions of fans for whom cricket is a passion, almost a religion,” Sibal told reporters here.

He said that the new law would not be specific to cricket and that it would cover all sports and the sports ministry will give it a final shape.

“It will apply to 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,” Sibal said.

Sibal said that though he felt the central government had the power to frame a law in respect of sporting events of national and international nature, he decided not to move forward without obtaining the opinion of Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati.

Sibal said the attorney general had conveyed that crimes like match-fixing and spot fixing were abhorrent and need to be dealt with in a holistic manner.

He said that Vahanvati had also conveyed that changes could brought into the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to cover match-fixing and spot fixing.

Sibal said the first draft of new law will be ready in three-four days and it will be sent to the sports ministry.

“We are committed to introduce it as soon as possible,” Sibal said.

“Law must be such that definition of unfair practices must include all such possibilities – not the outcome of a match alone but the course of game,” he said.

Sibal said BJP leader Arun Jaitley and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla met him Friday and discussed the contours of the proposed legislation.

He said the two leaders, who are also cricket administrators, accepted that there was need of a stand-alone legislation. Jaitley is a vice president of the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) while Shukla is the Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman.

Sibal said the new law would apply to foreign and domestic players, including corporates, bookies and criminals.

“Any act, signal or contact, whether through technology or other means that can change the course of the game or its outcome, will be brought under unfair practices,” he said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath had earlier Saturday said that BCCI chief N. Srinivasan should quit following the arrest of his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan in the IPL spot fixing scandal.

He was questioned about his role and involvement in the spot fixing scam, his betting habits and links. He reportedly lost Rs.10 million at the behest of Bollywood actor Vindoo Dara Singh Randhawa, who is also in police custody.

Meiyappan’s arrest marks a course-changing twist in the ongoing IPL-6 spot-fixing scam busted 10 days ago with the arrest of three Rajasthan Royals cricketers Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, by Delhi Police in Mumbai.

Mumbai police last week nabbed six bookies — Ramesh Vyas, Pandurang Kadam, Pravin Bera, Pankaj Shah, Ashok Vyas and Neeraj — who remain in custody.

After Vindoo’s interrogation, police nabbed a bookie Prem Taneja and a hawala operator Alpesh Patel and recovered Rs.12.80 million cash.

“Corruption in sports can exist even if there is no betting or gambling involved,” Vahanvati said.

Indo-Asian News Service

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