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May 19, 2000


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BCCI issues show cause notice to Bindra

Faisal Shariff and Onkar Singh, in Delhi

Listen to the press conference on Real Audio

The Board of Cricket for Control in India today issued a show cause notice to former board president Inderjit Singh Bindra, and to the Punjab Cricket Association, asking the former to explain various statements made to the media within the past fortnight.

Board president Dr A C Muthaiah briefed the media to this effect, adding that Bindra had violated the confidentiality clause on certain points forcing the board to take this action.

The BCCI working committee meeting

Muthaiah explained that under the board's constitution, certain subjects could not be talked about to the media. By violating this clause, the board's harmony and stability has been endangered and, as such, said Muthaiah, it is a matter of grave concern.

Bindra has claimed that he has been misquoted, and was not a party to certain statements made.

Muthaiah informed the media that Bindra had agreed to the show cause notice, and said that he will explain his position and point out which statements he had actually made, and on which he has been misquoted.

"Even Bindra has agreed that he should be served with a show cause notice. We are issuing a notice to the Punjab Cricket Association and Bindra in his private capacity," he explained.

"The notice is being sent to him because he has said lot many things for which he owes an explanation to the board.

"Today, pointed questions were asked to him by various members of the committee, including Jagmohan Dalimya, president of the Bengal Cricket Association, about some of the remarks he has made in media interviews. But Bindra chose to take shelter behind the confidentiality agreement between him and the CBI.

"Let him write to me and say all this. Then I would write to the CBI and find out if there is any such agreement between Bindra and the investigating agency. Accordingly we will take action against him," he added.

A member of the BCCI working committee told this correspondent that Bindra had explained that he spoke to only two leading newspapers, and to, in the past few days, besides certain television channels.

During the course of the meeting, Bindra was questioned about an interview he gave to in November '99, in course of which he had given a clean chit to the players, indicating that they were innocent, but added that the same could not be said of the administrators.

Meanwhile, national coach Kapil Dev presented the BCCI with a written request, asking the board to fund and fight, on his behalf, the legal proceedings he plans to initiate against I S Bindra for naming him as a party to match-fixing.

In his letter, Kapil further said that in the event he was found guilty, he would immediately reimburse to the board all expenses incurred on his behalf.

In an immediate reaction, board president Muthaiah accepted the request, and further announced that henceforth, the board will fight all legal cases on behalf of any and all players named in the ongoing match-fixing scandal, in any section of the media. However, Muthaiah added, if and when any player is charge-sheeted by the official investigating agencies, the board will withdraw its support.

"This is one of the most important decisions that we have taken today. We have decided to back Kapil Dev till it is proved that he is guilty of match-fixing or had paid money to someone to throw a match. I admit that the board was a bit slow in backing Kapil but now that we have decided to back him up we would do so till charges against him are proved," Muthaiah said.

The working committee meeting, which got under way at 10.30 this morning, had a fiery first session, with Bindra speaking out loud enough to be heard outside the conference room of the Vazir Lounge at Taj Palace, in Delhi.

Muthaiah, however, claimed that the meeting was held in calm and conducive atmosphere. "There was no acrimony at any point of time," he said.

He disclosed that hence forth it will be necessary for all Test cricketers and one-day international players to take part in domestic tournaments, mainly the Ranji Trophy matches.

"But those who are playing abroad in any country championship may write to the board for exemption. But the attempt is to make sure that all top players play in the domestic tournament," he said.

Muthiah said that the working committee had set up a three-member committee to draft the code of conduct both for players as well as board officials. Ishan Manohar will be the chairman of the committee. Two other members of the committee are Ashok Kumbat and K Subharao.

"These people would receive suggestions from the members of the board and accordingly incorporate them suitably in the code of conduct which is almost ready," he said.

Muthaiah also announced that the working committee decided to make some drastic changes in the domestic cricket set-up.

"A new tournament is being started for under-14. Since the number of complaints about the over-aged players playing in junior tournaments has been on the rise it has been decided to hold age verification tests to find out the true age of the players. The Bombay Hospital would conduct these tests and report to the board," he said.

Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Shukla demanded strict action against board officials making frivolous charges.

"When charges can be made against persons like Kapil or Sachin Tenduklar then there is something wrong with the person who is making these charges," he said.

Meanwhile, Bindra refused to speak to the media after the first day's proceedings, saying that he had been instructed by the CBI to refrain from comment on the various issues he had raised.

Dalmiya, seeming quite upbeat, was reluctant to address the media but said that he and Bindra were good friends, and had worked well together earlier, but now he (Bindra) was "working to cleanse him".

Interestingly, this is the first time the board president, and not the secretary, addressed the media after a BCCI meeting. Lele was confined to confirming that there would be a further media briefing, after the second session, at around 13.30 IST tomorrow.

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