BCCI should probe Kambli’s charge, says Maken

November 19th, 2011 - 5:56 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 19 (IANS) Sports Minister Ajay Maken Saturday hinted that his ministry will have to probe former India player Vinod Kambli’s charge that the controversial 1996 World Cup semifinal between India and Sri Lanka at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens could have been fixed, if the cricket board does not do it on its own.

“If there is any truth to this (allegation), then a probe should be conducted. The nation and cricket fans have the right to know the truth. It was a world-cup semifinal and the whole country must have been watching,” Maken told reporters here.

Maken said he was pained by Kambli’s allegation and, if true, it is extremely unfortunate for the game.

“Not only as a minister but also as a sports lover, I felt sad to hear that because I saw the match after cancelling a lot of my appointments,” said Maken.

“It should be investigated properly. I think we should go to the root of it so that we can know the truth.

“Cricket lovers have a right to know because the World Cup semifinal must have been seen by everyone and if match-fixing has happened then it is extremely unfortunate,” he added.

Maken said if the BCCI doesn’t initiate action, the sports ministry may conduct an inquiry.

“We will see. As you know, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has not come to the sports ministry for any recognition so far, but I would want, whatever agency is there, BCCI should order a probe into it. If the BCCI doesn’t conduct a probe, we will look at it,” he said.

“We can’t take the charge lightly. The ministry will intervene if the BCCI does not take any action,” he said.

Maken also called for a betting law in the country.

“Time has come to bring in a law on betting in sports.”

“We will see if it (anti-corruption law) has to be enacted by the sports ministry or the home ministry. We will have it examined,” he said.

Maken reiterated that all federations should come under the ambit of the RTI.

“I have always mentioned and believed that all federations should come under the RTI and the BCCI should also come under its ambit. Cricket is also a sport and looking at these incidents my belief has become stronger that these federations should definitely come under RTI,” he said.

Kambli, expressing shock over then captain Mohammad Azharuddin’s decision to field first in the semifinal, said something was “amiss”. The semi-final was eventually awarded to Sri Lanka after fans’ rowdy behaviour.

Azharuddin, who was leading the team, rubbished the charge and has been supported by teammates Nayan Mongia, Sanjay Manjrekar, Venkatpathy Raju and then coach Ajit Wadekar, who said the move to field first was a collective decision of the team.

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