BCCI files FIR for match-fixing approach to India women's player

The incident happened in February, ahead of India women’s team’s limited-overs series against England, which was part of International Cricket Council (ICC)’s World Championships.

The Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has registered a First Information Report (FIR) against two individuals -- Rakesh Bafna and Jitendra Kothari -- at the Ashok Nagar Police Station in Bengaluru for an alleged attempt of match-fixing and cheating.   -  Getty Images

The Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has registered a First Information Report (FIR) against two individuals -- Rakesh Bafna and Jitendra Kothari -- at the Ashok Nagar Police Station in Bengaluru for an alleged attempt of match-fixing and cheating.

According to the FIR, Bafna had approached one of the prominent members of India’s national women’s team (name withheld on request) earlier this year, offering her huge amount of money if she joined hands with them.

The incident happened in February, ahead of India women’s team’s limited-overs series against England -- which was part of International Cricket Council (ICC)’s World Championships.

“Today, we have got an FIR registered against two people in Bengaluru. The FIR pertains to an approach that was made to one of the women cricketers of the team. She reported the approach to us and even recorded the conversation she had with one of the accused over the telephone,” BCCI ACU chief, Ajit Singh, told Sportstar.

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Kothari -- who claimed to be a sports manager -- got in touch with the cricketer last year through Instagram, offering her managerial services. After a few weeks, Kothari couriered a copy of a contract, but the player could not sign it since she was touring with the Indian team. However, the cricketer decided to not sign the contract later.

In February this year, Kothari again contacted the player and put her through to Bafna -- claiming he had a business offer for her. At that time, the player was at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru, undergoing recovery sessions.

“Kothari was trying to sell himself as the manager of various women cricketers. It was he who introduced Bafna to the player. He approached her to fix matches and play according to the script,” Singh said.

It has been learned that Bafna offered the player Rs 1 lakh per match -- during the India-England series. Bafna -- who hails from Odisha -- also requested the player if the ODI captain of the team could also be roped in for the ‘plan’.

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“Initially the call was made via WhatsApp and Bafna said that endorsement would be for a noted Indian clothing brand. But soon, he directly approached her to fix matches. The player told him that there is a bad connection and he could call her on her regular number,” Singh said.

On realising that things were fishy, the cricketer recorded the conversation and reported the matter to the BCCI ACU.

Since the incident happened before an ICC event, the ICC anti-corruption unit got into business and after investigation, observed that “Bafna took advantage of Kothari’s ineptitude, and the player had rightly made a report of the approachment. Bafna was warned for his action and was reported to the BCCI and ICC.”

However, later the BCCI ACU observed that Kothari attempted to contact other members of the women’s team as well and “conspired with Bafna with the intention to fix matches.”

Lauding the young cricketer for reporting the matter to the ACU immediately, Singh said that it was important for the women cricketers to also be careful. “People involved in betting just need any cricket match, for them, it does not matter at what level it is being played. If a match is telecast, that helps them in betting and that’s why they indulge in spot-fixing,” the ACU chief, a former Rajasthan DGP, said.

The BCCI ACU has registered the FIR under case number: 312/19 at the Ashok Nagar police station, Bengaluru City. The case has been registered under the following sections:

IPC Section 420: Indian Penal Code deals with Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property. The maximum punishment which can be awarded is imprisonment for a term of 7 years and fine.

IPC Section 511: Punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment.

IPC Section 120B: Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable with death, or rigorous imprisonment for a term of two years or upwards, shall, where no express provision is made in this Code for the punishment of such a conspiracy, be punished in the same manner as if he had abetted such offence.

IPC Section 109: Punishment of abetment if the act abetted is committed in consequence and where no express provision is made for its punishment. Whoever abets any offence shall, if the act abetted is committed in consequence of the abetment, and no express provision is made by this Code for the punishment of such abet­ment, be punished with the punishment provided for the offence. Explanation. An act or offence is said to be committed in consequence of the abetment, when it is committed in consequence of the instigation, or in pursuance of the conspiracy, or with the aid which constitutes the abetment. Illustrations

Karnataka Police Act, 1963, Section 79.