Some players of Kings XI Punjab may have indulged in “suspicious activities linked to throwing matches”, the Indian Premier League (IPL) team’s co-owner Preity Zinta told BCCI officials during a meeting this month as reported by Indian Express.
Zinta also told officials who attended the meeting of BCCI’s IPL working group on August 8 that the Indian board’s anti-corruption team has not been able to effectively tackle the menace, The Indian Express reported.
The actor said she had seen such activities from close quarters and wanted to speak earlier about them but possessed no proof, the daily quoted its sources as saying. Zinta said she had felt at times that some IPL matches involving her team had followed a “pre-decided pattern”.
Apart from stakeholders in the league, the meeting was attended by all four members of the working group – IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur, BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary and former India captain Sourav Ganguly.
The BCCI formed the group on July 21 to devise a roadmap for the ninth edition of IPL after studying the implications of the Justice R M Lodha Committee’s report on corruption in the league and its order suspending Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for two years. Shukla and Thakur were not available for comment. The Indian Express tried to reach Zinta for more than a week through the Kings XI Punjab management and her publicist but could not obtain a response. “Zinta could not be reached as she was travelling,” said a spokesperson.
The daily quoted its sources as saying that Zinta told officials that she learnt about “suspicious activities” in the league after people predicted the outcome of a game or a period of play in her presence, and they proved accurate.
The actor further told officials she had been a psychology student and could comprehend body language and read the mind of players, sources said. She claimed she had pulled up players who she thought were not “playing fair, dropped them from games and even put them up for auction”, the sources said. Zinta said she “even confronted a player angrily over this issue once and tipped off other franchises about the players she suspected”, sources said.
Asked by officials why she failed to report her suspicions to the BCCI’s Anti-Corruption Security Unit, Zinta replied the unit could only stop players from talking to someone or curb their movements, sources said.
However, Kings XI Punjab team's co-owner Preity Zinta was today "shocked" and blasted the media for "spreading rubbish without verification" after learning about the article that emerged on Indian Express stating that she had claimed of her players being involved in "fixing" Indian Premier League (IPL) matches.
Taking strong offence to the article, Preity took to Twitter to clarify what she had actually told the Indian cricket board. The Bollywood actress called the write-up a "destructive article for sensational purpose".
"Stop spreading rubbish without verification," Preity wrote on her Twitter page this morning. This was one of the 6 tweets that appeared on her account.
Shocked by this inaccurate & extremely irresponsible & malicious piece by @IndianExpress #stunned #2shocked2react
- she said. Several other media also quoted the newspaper article and ran the stories, which further upset Preity.
IPL has been rocked by spot-fixing and betting scandals. Recently, Justice RM Lodha Committee suspended Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajashtan Royals (RR) after their owner/official were found guilty of betting on matches.
The IPL working group, being assisted by BCCI’s legal advisor U N Banerjee, is expected to submit a final report at a meeting of the board’s working committee in Kolkata on August 28.