With bio-secure bubbles and protocols, the task of the ACU sleuths has become difficult. © BCCI
Shabir Hussein Shekhadam Khandwawala, the newly-appointed Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) head of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said ensuring an incident-free Indian Premier League (IPL) is his top priority.
Khandwawala is a former DGP of Gujarat and he takes charge just days ahead of the IPL. “The immediate challenge (for me) is to ensure that the IPL (starting on Friday), is incident-free. This job is like it is between the criminals and police. Through technology, these criminals are evolving and changing their strategies,” he told Cricbuzz. “We have to compete with that. It is a struggle, but I think we will be able to meet our goals with the help of the BCCI officials. I have found that the BCCI officials are committed and they always like to give a free hand to their officers. The BCCI is committed to curb and eradicate corruption and we have to ensure that.”
With bio-secure bubbles and protocols, the task of the ACU sleuths has become difficult, but Khandwawala said he has devised methods to address the issues. “Because of the bio-bubble, there are constraints, we cannot meet and talk to the players, but every team has a Team Integrity Officer and we will deal with the teams and players through our TIMs. We will have presentations made to the teams. We have also opened channels for communication.”
Khandwawala acknowledged that Ajit Singh Shekhawat, the former ACU head, and his predecessors have done a commendable job. “The systems are in place, so I will follow them. I have spent time in Mumbai and I have seen very good contributions by the officers in the past. Now our goal is very clear. The image of the BCCI and the tournaments conducted by it has been very high and we must ensure that it continues to remain so,” he said, adding that at the top on his agenda is prevention and education.
“If any betting or any irregular activity takes place, there are two ways to handle it. One, if something happens, you investigate and detect. The second and more important part is prevention. We must gather the information and make timely interventions to prevent any such thing. We will be focussing on both aspects. Then the third aspect is educating the young, gullible players. Unknowingly and without understanding the seriousness, some players may pass on the information, so educating them about the dangers has to be taken up too. We have some idea about who are the people (like bookies) that corrupting the game. We have also contacts through our experience in the police department. We know about them through local police and their modus operandi.”
Discovery of corruption is a positive development: Ajit Singh
Shekhawat said he had a free hand and received full cooperation from the BCCI to implement his anti-corruption measures when he was in charge. “I have no complaints about anything, there was full cooperation. I had a free hand from the BCCI,” the outgoing ACU head, a Rajasthan cadre IPS officer, said on Monday (April 5).
He also added that the discovery of corruption is a positive development. “Look one cannot comment if corruption is there or not. But when corruption is discovered, that is a positive development. It was discovered in Karanataka and it was discovered in Mumbai. There were a few other instances that came to our notice. That was exposed and once exposed, you can take remedial measures.”
Last year, Karnataka cricket was rocked by a fixing scandal in which cases against many cricketers, including first-class players, owners and officials of the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) were registered. The BCCI ACU actively coordinated with the Karnataka police in unravelling of the scandal.