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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Former CBI man joins ICC Anti-corruption unit

Former CBI man joins ICC Anti-corruption unit

Last updated on: November 08, 2007 19:24 IST

The International Cricket Council on Thursday appointed Ravi Sawani, former Central Bureau of Investigation joint-director of special crimes, as General Manager and Chief Investigator of its Anti-Corruption Security Unit, under the chairmanship Lord Paul Condon.

Announcing the appointment of the 57-year-old Sawani, who has 30 years' service in the Indian police force, including the CBI, ICC CEO Malcolm Speed said it is "a synergy of old world cricket (Condon of England) and the new world cricket (India)".

"Ravi Sawani was selected as he was an outstanding candidate from among several persons from police and military background who had applied for the job which we had advertised six months ago.

"India has clearly the biggest population playing cricket and we are well aware of the amount of money that is being betted on cricket in the country, to the tune of between 500 million US dollars and one billion during the ongoing India-Pakistan series," Speed said.

Sawani replaces Jeff Rees, who is retiring after holding the post since the ACSU's inception in the wake of the match-fixing-scandal in 2000. He will function from Dubai.

Sawani, who is from Chennai, will begin work in Dubai next week. Alongside Lord Condon, he will work with three investigators and five Regional Security Managers to ensure the game of cricket remains on top of the issue of corruption within the sport.

Commenting on the retirement of Rees and the appointment of Sawani, Lord Condon said: "First of all I would like to pay tribute to the work of Jeff Rees as the unit's first Chief Investigator.

"Jeff has been outstanding in the role in, first of all, ensuring we got to grips with the issue of corruption that riddled the sport when the unit was formed in 2000, and then making sure we have stayed on top of it over the past few years.

"With Jeff stepping down we are fortunate to have a person of Ravi's outstanding credentials to take over and I am certain he will continue Jeff's great work.

"With all the measures we have put in place we are now at the stage where the public can be confident that when they watch an international cricket match they are seeing something that is genuine and fairly-contested.

"However, with the rise of spread betting, the ever-increasing opportunities people have to bet on almost any event within a match, the vast sums of money that are wagered and the explosion in popularity of a new format at international level we can never afford to be complacent.

"If anything, we have to be more vigilant than ever and Ravi will bring with him a fresh pair of eyes and a fresh perspective to the continuing challenges that lie ahead for us.

"I am delighted he is joining us and I am sure his presence will help ensure we remain a model for other sports in the fight against corruption."

Among Sawani's other professional accomplishments, he spent five years as a senior member of the Special Protection Group (SPG), formed to protect the India Prime Minister in the wake of the assassination of Mrs Indira Gandhi in 1984.

As Joint-Commissioner of Police in charge of Madras Metropolitan Police he was awarded the Indian Police Medal for Meritorious Services and during his time with the CBI he received the President of India's Police Medal for Distinguished Services, the highest police medal in the country, in 2001.

Commenting on his new role as General Manager and Chief Investigator of the ACSU, Sawani said: "I am delighted to have been chosen and am looking forward to the challenges it presents.

"My work with the CBI has ensured I already have an understanding of many of the issues involved in managing the fight against corruption and I will seek to ensure the game continues to remain strong and steadfast on this issue.

"By doing that we will ensure that our strong sport continues to grow stronger."