With betting in Indian Premiere League tournament estimated to be around Rs 66,000 crore business, Central Bureau of investigation Director Ranjit Sinha on Tuesday said there is no harm in legalising betting as there was no point in a ban which cannot be enforced.
When asked by senior editor Shekhar Gupta on his views about legalising betting, Sinha, who was on the panel of a session "Ethics and integrity in sports--need for a law and role of CBI", said there was no harm in legalising betting in the country.
"If you cannot enforce the ban on betting, it is like saying 'if you can't prevent rape, you enjoy it'", Sinha said.
"If we can have lottery in states, if we can have casinos at holiday resorts. If the government can declare schemes of voluntary disclosure for black money, so what's the harm in legalising betting? Besides you'll have enforcement agencies to look into it," he said, adding that its easy to call for ban than to enforce it.
(Later, CBI spokesperson gave a clarification saying the context in which the statement was made by Sinha was an opinion on legalising betting.
"A voice vote was taken from R M Sawani and cricketer Rahul Dravid and the director, CBI, made a point if a law cannot be enforced, that does not mean that law should not be there").
When informed by a delegate during the session that officials of cricket bodies have been termed as public servants by the Supreme Court and can now be probed by the CBI and
states' anti-corruption agencies, Sinha said it was a revelation and he would not hesitate to probe cases of corruption if need arises.
Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Dravid, who was special guest at the panel, said legalising betting is one subject on which call has to be taken by the law enforcement agencies.
"I think if the law enforcement authorities actually do feel that legalising betting will lead to better governance and reduce corruption then I am all for it," he said.
When the question was posed to Ravi Sawani, chief of Board of Control for Cricket in India's Anti Corruption and Security Unit, he said legalising betting will in no way help reducing corruption from the game.
Sawani in his presentation said in each IPL game, legal bets from one exchange in the UK are about Rs 440 crore whereas for the tournament, bets worth Rs 66,000 crore approximately are placed which include illegal betting syndicates as well.