Bravo and the Rs 20 crore bribe: The convenient opaqueness of the ICC's anti-corruption unit

Crooks, thieves and general low-lifes operate in the shadows because they must. The job of the good guys is to expose the shady stuff to as much sun as possible. When it comes to cricket’s good guys though, we know less about them than we do about the fixers and the gamblers that now populate the sport.

Consider the latest allegation of fixing against Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo, all of whom play for the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL. Lalit Modi, who has always been a journalist’s dream, sent a letter in 2013 alleging that the three players were given extravagant gifts by real estate magnet – Baba Dewan - who Lalit claimed was a bookie.

 Bravo and the Rs 20 crore bribe: The convenient opaqueness of the ICCs anti-corruption unit

Dwayne Bravo. Sportzpics

The only reason we know this now is the war between Lalit and well, basically, everyone in India. Within a couple of days, the ICC said the players were clean and the allegations were false. But this was not done in an official statement. It was done through anonymous quotes.

It’s typical for a law enforcement agency to share details of an investigation after the fact. However, the ACSU does no such thing. Neither does the BCCI or the ICC. They simply do not discuss these things.

So no mention was made of when the investigation was done or how it was done. We, the paying public, just have take their word for it. We shouldn’t consider – for example – that the guy who the ACSU reports to – N Srinivasan – was booted from the BCCI by India’s Supreme Court because of a conflict of interest that arose from his owning the Chennai Super Kings, co-incidentally the franchise that employs all three players.

Now it emerges that the ICC failed to contact at least one of the players.

“The ICC has not questioned me on this,” Bravo told the Mumbai Mirror. He went on to deny the allegations, saying he has never even met Dewan. “I love this game so much that I will never do anything to jeopardise my relationship with my fans in India,” Bravo said.

Questioning the players is Investigation 101. It’s hard to understand what sort of inquiry the ACSU could conduct that did not involve going to straight to the horse’s mouth. It also raises the question of whether the ACSU spoke to anyone at all, including the other two players – Raina and Jadeja.

It is also suspiciously reminiscent of the investigation the BCCI conducted into allegations of gambling and fixing against Gurunath Meiyappan, Srinivasan’s son-in-law, and Raj Kundra, the former co-owner Rajasthan Royals. For those who don’t remember, the BCCI appointed two retired Tamil Nadu High Court judges who did not interview anyone, nor did they collect any evidence from the police, yet pronounced all parties innocent of all charges. The board president at the time was Srinivasan (yes, him again).
The subsequent Supreme Court case found both Meiyappan and Kundra guilty of betting, effectively putting the lie to the BCCI’s eyewash of a probe.

But at least in that case, there was an attempt to show an investigation had taken place, even it was fixed. In the case of Raina, Jadeja and Bravo, we have absolutely no idea how the ICC went about proving their innocence.

The BCCI hasn’t even bothered to name the Mumbai Ranji Trophy player who approached a Rajasthan Royals player before the 2015 IPL. Even the Mumbai Cricket Association has been kept in the dark, though the BCCI has promised to reveal the name before the first-class starts later this year.

Why the secrecy?

This is not argue that any of the players accused are guilty. They are entirely to the presumption of innocence. But when those that are supposed to be illuminating the dark corners of the game operate within those same shadows, it is absolutely fair to ask questions of their methods and practices.

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Updated Date: Jul 02, 2015 13:17:58 IST