Former IPS officer Neeraj Kumar, who strayed into the world of cricket when he was appointed head of BCCI’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) in 2015, says throughout his stint, he realised fixing is the proverbial tip of the iceberg of corruption in cricket and a “minuscule percentage of the large-scale chicanery that cricket administrators indulge in”. Published by Juggernaut Books, “A Cop in Cricket” is an account of Kumar’s private trials as ACU chief (June 1, 2015 – May 31, 2018) on the BCCI and his “witness statement of the three critical years of the national cricket body caught in the throes of change”.
Kumar says in his e-book, he has tried to provide the readers an “overview of the malpractices that take place in the name of cricket in our country”.
At the identical time, he says, having witnessed the goings-on within the BCCI within the wake of the Supreme Court interventions following the Mudgal Committee and Lodha Committee reviews, “I am also able to write about the ‘agents of change’, appointed by the Supreme Court to clean up the Augean stables that is the BCCI”.
“In the three years that I spent at the BCCI, I realised that fixing was the proverbial tip of the huge iceberg of corruption in cricket. Fixing is, in fact, a minuscule percentage of the large-scale chicanery that cricket administrators indulge in,” he writes.
“The handsome revenues earned by cricket in India – thanks to the IPL – are parcelled off to state cricket associations, where the money is mostly misappropriated. The 2015 Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) case against the top bosses of the Jammu & Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) for embezzlement of crores of rupees given to them by the BCCI is a case in point,” Kumar claims.
He additionally goes on to allege that many “unsavoury things also happen at the grassroots level” throughout group picks. “Those happenings remain a matter between the selector and the aspiring cricketer or his family.” He claims throughout his tenure on the BCCI, his unit needed to look into a number of such complaints, together with just a few the place sexual favours had been sought from younger cricketers.
“We were frequently approached by players and their guardians complaining that they were cheated of lakhs of rupees by coaches or officials who promised them a place in an IPL or Ranji team and then disappeared, leaving them high and dry,” Kumar writes.
In the e-book, Kumar additionally mentions that Vinod Rai, head of the Committee of Administrators (CoA) of the BCCI appointed by the Supreme Court to take over the governance of the BCCI in 2017, and the then BCCI CEO Rahul Johri loved a ‘father-son’ relationship, the place the “father didn’t wish to hear anything against his prodigal son”.
Kumar claims he introduced a number of points linked with Johri to the discover of Rai.
“He always gave me a patient hearing and made me feel he was on my side and would discipline Rahul Johri suitably. But I noticed he did nothing of the sort,” he writes.
“Looking back at the sequence of events, I continue to be appalled and outraged. The defaulting CEO had conspired with the chief administrator to embarrass me and pass on the blame for his own misdoings to me in a meeting and had shared his plans with a journalist.
“Even extra hurtful was that Rai pretended to be on my aspect solely a few hours earlier and performed himself within the assembly alongside the traces his CEO had scripted for him, even when he knew all of the information,” he says.
Kumar also writes that with “Anurag Thakur, who had a decent leash on Johri, gone, the CEO progressively got here into his personal. Johri, who had political clout with a strong central minister backing him, turned the blue-eyed boy of Rai”.
According to the author, the main focus of cricket administrators in India should be to ensure that help – monetary or otherwise – for struggling players at the lower level needing aid reaches only the deserving.
Kumar also writes that Indian fans really get a raw deal.
“There is hardly a stadium that may boast of a world-class spectating facility with clear bogs, availability of hygienic meals and refreshments, clear ingesting water, parking amenities, clean accessibility, firefighting tools, and so forth. End of the day, it’s on account of the followers that the Board generates huge income, however sadly no one cares for them.
“The so-called cricket administrators, most of whom have never held a cricket ball or bat in their lives, end up as the main beneficiaries of the monies earned by cricket in this country, at the expense of the fans of the game and the players,” he says.
On legalising betting, Kumar writes: “I have always had reservations about this point of view. First, no political party in power would risk legalising betting in sports. It would be widely perceived as giving legal sanction to gambling, which is otherwise a criminal offence.
“But the political fallout of such a transfer could be substantial and, due to this fact, it’s unlikely to occur any time quickly. More importantly, even when the federal government legalises betting, what number of bettors would come ahead to position their wagers utilizing ‘white cash’?”
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