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At Delhi’s Kotla ground, bookies employed cleaner to pass on match information during one IPL game: BCCI Anti-Corruption Unit chief

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BY S VENKAT NARAYAN

Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, May 5:

The recently-suspended Indian Premier League (IPL) has witnessed potential corruptors plugging an accredited cleaner at Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla ground for doing “pitch-siding,” which helps ball-to-ball betting. This was revealed by Shabbir Hussain Shekhadam Khandwawala, Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) Chief of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The new modus operandi was observed during one of the IPL games in Delhi, where a designated cleaner was using the time lag between actual match action and live TV coverage to help in ball-by-ball betting, which is also known as court-siding or pitch-siding.

Pitch-siding is the practice of transmitting information from sporting events for the purpose of gambling, or directly placing bets.

“One of my ACU officers caught a person and handed over the details to Delhi Police. While that particular offender managed to flee leaving behind his two mobile phones, ACU lodged a complaint with the Delhi Police,” Hussain, a former Director General of Gujarat Police, told PTI on Wednesday.

“We are thankful to Delhi Police that in a separate incident they caught two other persons from the Kotla on an ACU tip-off.”

The Delhi Police arrested two people with fake accreditation cards during the IPL match between Rajasthan Royals (RR) and SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) on May 2.

“So, on two separate days, these people managed to get access to Kotla. The one who fled came in the garb of a cleaner. However, we have all his details as he was employed for the tournament. His Aadhaar Card details have been handed over to Delhi Police,” Hussain said.

“I am confident that he will be nabbed in a day or two. He is a small fry working for a couple of hundred or some thousand bucks maybe,” the ACU supremo said.

But he did agree that lower-rung staff might be used by a bigger syndicate since, because of COVID-19, there is no access to hotels given the bio-secure measures.

“…as situations and circumstances change, so does the modus operandi of crime. But we are up for it,” Hussain said.

How did cleaning staff come under the ACU radar?

“The cleaner was standing (inside Feroz Shah Kotla premises) in a secluded area all by himself. So, one of our officers approached him and asked: ‘What are you doing here?’

“He said: “I am talking to my girlfriend”.

“My officer then asked him to dial the number he was talking to and then asked him to hand over the phones. Just when he was going through the contents of his phone, the guy fled from the spot,” Hussain revealed. But he did not divulge during which match the incident has occurred.

The cleaner was wearing the IPL accreditation card which all the class IV staff are given during the tournament from bus drivers, to cleaners, porters, etc.

“It was one of the evening matches in Delhi. He was wearing an I-card. Also, what raised suspicion was he had two mobiles,” he said.

“The information he may be supplying could be to someone more influential among bookmakers. So, we needed to inform the Delhi Police. Delhi Police has responded positively, and thus next instance two people were arrested.”

Hussain also confirmed that the ACU did not receive any complaint of corrupt approaches being made to players or support staff involved in IPL during the 29 games that were held.

“Obviously, with bio bubble and no crowd around, it certainly becomes a bit easier to manage as there is no physical proximity of (face to face meetings with players) questionable characters. When there is a crowd, it becomes difficult to check anyone and everyone,” Hussain said.

He also said that during the Mumbai leg, the hotel in which SunRisers Hyderabad team was staying had three people with questionable past record and whose names were in the ACU database. However, they couldn’t come in contact of the players.

“The moment we had information, we got in touch with Mumbai Police. The Police Commissioner of Mumbai took immediate cognisance and the Mumbai Police got hold of those three,” he added.

 

 



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Strong earthquake hits south-eastern Turkey near Syria border

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BBC reported that a powerful earthquake has hit Gaziantep in south-eastern Turkey, near the border with Syria.

The US Geological Survey said the 7.8 magnitude tremor struck at 04:17 local time (01:17 GMT) at a depth of 17.9km (11 miles) near the city of Gaziantep.

The quake was felt in the capital Ankara and other Turkish cities, and also across the region.

Reports are coming in that several buildings have collapsed, and a number of people may be trapped.

A BBC Turkish correspondent in Diyarbakir reports that a shopping mall in the city collapsed.

Rushdi Abualouf, a BBC producer in the Gaza Strip, said there was about 45 seconds of shaking in the house he was staying in.

Turkish seismologists estimated the strength of the quake to be 7.4 magnitude.

They said that a second tremor hit the region just minutes later.

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13 A: Political parties miss Ranil’s Feb. 04 deadline for submitting their proposals

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Udaya compares constitutional threat with Indonesian crisis in late ’90s

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The government hasn’t received proposals from political parties regarding President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s decision to implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution fully.

President Wickremesinghe, on January 26, requested party leaders to furnish their suggestions, if any, by Feb. 04 as he intended to brief Parliament on Feb. 08 as regards the implementation of land and police powers.

Political parties, represented in Parliament, had not responded to President Wickremesinghe’s request so far, authoritative sources told The Island. Responding to another query, sources said that the President’s Office hadn’t received proposals in support of President Wickremesinghe’s declaration or against it.

Several political parties, including the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) spurned the President’s invitation.

Having declared his intention to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, enacted in Nov. 1987, during Thai Pongal celebrations, in Jaffna, on January 15th, 2023, President Wickremesinghe warned party leaders on January 26 he would go ahead with plans unless the parliament repealed it. Both declarations were made in the presence of Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

Sources noted that though several political parties declared opposition and some issued statements supportive of the President’s move, they haven’t submitted proposals in writing.

President Wickremesinghe prorogued Parliament, on January 27, the day after setting Feb. 04 as the deadline for political parties to submit proposals. The new session of Parliament begins on Feb. 08.Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) General Secretary, Sagara Kariyawasam, MP, told The Island that the decision to fully implement the controversial amendment shouldn’t be taken hastily.

“We are certainly not opposed to the devolution of power. However, we cannot under any circumstances support an agenda that may cause chaos,” National List MP said.

The Attorney-at-Law said so when The Island asked him whether the ruling party submitted its proposals to President Wickremesinghe.The lawmaker said that there was no requirement to do so as he on behalf of the SLPP explained to the January 26 meeting chaired by President Wickremesinghe why 13th Amendment shouldn’t be fully implemented without examining the ground situation.

“Seven past Presidents didn’t do that. Why didn’t they do so? We’ll have to study why they refrained from granting police and land powers in spite of them being part of that Amendment. If the reasons that compelled them not to do so no longer exist, we can consider the proposals,” lawmaker Kariyawasam said.

Declaring SLPP’s commitment to maximum possible devolution, MP Kariyawasam warned of dire consequences if decisions were made on the basis of language and religion.The SLPP that secured 145 seats at the last general election remains the largest party in parliament though over two dozen MPs quit the government group.

MP Kariyawasam emphasized that they couldn’t act recklessly on the issue at hand.Those who quit the SLPP parliamentary group, too, have strongly opposed the full implementation of the 13th Amendment. Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) leader Udaya Gammanpila, MP, compared the developing crisis here with Western project that divided Indonesia in the late 90s.Attorney-at-Law Gammanpila explained how Western countries exploited the economic crisis in Indonesia to compel Jakarta to grant independence to East Timor.

Addressing a public rally at Dehiwela on Feb. 02  in support of Nidahas Janatha Sandhanaya contesting March 09 Local Government polls, former Power and Energy Minister said that the challenge faced by Sri Lanka owing to the continuing balance of payments and debt crises was very much similar to the circumstances leading to East Timor independence.

The 13th Amendment would split Sri Lanka on ethnic lines, the Colombo District MP warned.The MP recalled how external powers created an environment that compelled Indonesian President Suharto to resign in May 1998 to pave the way for Megawati Setiawati Sukarnoputri to win the next presidential election. The MP said that Sukarnoputri granted independence to East Timor.

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Gas prices up

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State-owned Litro has increased the price of domestic gas with effect from midnight yesterday.

Chairman of Litro Company Muditha Peiris said the price of a 12.5 kg domestic gas cylinder would be increased by Rs 334, the price of a 5 kg gas cylinder by Rs 135 and the price of a 2.3 kg gas cylinder by Rs 61 .The 12.5 kg cylinder is Rs 4,743.

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