Board of Control for Cricket in India president N Srinivasan on Thursday expressed shock over the spot-fixing scandal that has hit the Indian Premier League, insisting the sport is clean and cannot be sullied by a few "bad eggs".
"I don't know about others, but I am shocked; the BCCI never expected it. It was a bolt from the blue. We will see whatever is there to be done is done. The sport is clean, we are running it clean and one or two bad eggs cannot sully the game," Srinivasan told reporters from Kodaikanal in a video conference in Mumbai.
"We have to examine and see what we can do and what steps we can take to demonstrate that such kind of work does not pay," he said.
A special cell of the Delhi police arrested well-known India pacer S Sreesanth and his Rajasthan Royals teammates Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, along with seven bookies on Wednesday night, after their IPL match against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.
The cricketers and bookies have been charged under sections 420 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. They were flown in to Delhi for further questioning.
The BCCI chief rejected the argument that players indulging in corrupt practices were perhaps underpaid, saying, "I don't think it is a case of players not having enough money. You can call it greed, not a question of inadequate compensation.
"We thought, when we made an example last year (by banning five domestic cricketers involved in spot-fixing), the message was clear and people would not do anything like this. But we will continue with our efforts. The action that we take against these players would be sufficient deterrent," he added.
Even though he promised tough action against guilty players, Srinivasan said the BCCI cannot be expected to keep track of all bookies.
"We have an anti-corruption code and an anti-doping code. Here the people involved are the ones who are Ranji players and one of them is a Test player and that is what is shocking," Srinivasan said.
"As far as these cricketers are concerned, and keeping in mind that natural justice has to be preserved, we will take action as per our rules after giving them a chance to explain. I hope nobody else is involved; but if information comes to BCCI, we will of course act immediately," he said.
"The BCCI has recently set up its own anti-corruption unit but the police say there is a huge network of bookies, it is difficult to police the entire country. When such instances come up, the police have taken action," he explained.
Srinivasan said to see Sreesanth, who has represented India, involved in the scandal was particularly disheartening. The BCCI chief, however, ruled out stopping the IPL because of this scandal.
"I am also equally sad, as all my colleagues, that the name of a player who played Test cricket has figured; but that doesn't mean that the entire game is corrupt. I do not think IPL should stop," he said.
"We will take all steps to root out corruption and we will give severe punishment. But to give a sweeping statement that IPL is untenable, I don't agree with that. All the players who play are honest," he added.
Srinivasan also pleaded ignorance on the exact charges and the evidence against the arrested trio.
"We do not have any information other than the fact that they have been arrested. It seems to me that the police have got some evidence about these. We will wait to see that from the police and then take action," he said.
Srinivasan, however, rejected suggestions that such an incident would come up again.
"One cannot presume that this will happen all the time. The BCCI can undertake a massive education programme which we have already done; we have set up our own anti-corruption also. We are taking precautionary action but we cannot take a broad brush to tarnish everybody that is not fair at all," he said.
Srinivasan refused to react on allegations made by Sreesanth's father that pacer had been framed by India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh due to personal enmity.
"I do not respond to what he has told his father," said the BCCI chief.