Indian Women’s Team Player Reports Match-fixing Approach to BCCI ACU

One member of the Indian women’s cricket team was reportedly approached to fix matches earlier in the year.

The incident, which was duly reported to the BCCI’s Anti-corruption Unit by the player is said to have happened in February, just before the series against England.

An FIR has been registered in Bengaluru against Rakesh Bafna and Jitendra Kothari for the alleged approach. The case has been registered under four sections of the IPC including Section 420, which pertains to cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property.

"Today, we have got an FIR registered against two people in Bengaluru," Ajit Singh Shekhawat, Head of the BCCI's ACU, told Sportstar.

"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."

Kothari reportedly posed as a sports manager and got in touch with the player last year, and couriered a contract to the player who did not sign it. In February again, when the player was undergoing recovery at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru, Kothari put her through to Bafna.

"Kothari was trying to sell himself as the manager of various women cricketers," Shekhawat said.

"It was he who introduced Bafna to the player. He approached her to fix matches and play according to the script."

The report also states that Bafna offered the player Rs 1 lakh per match during the India-England series. Bafna, who hails from Odisha, is also believed to have requested the player if the ODI captain of the team could also be roped in for the ‘plan’.

“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 she could call her on her regular number,” Singh said.

On realising that things did not add up, the cricketer recorded the conversation and reported the matter to the BCCI ACU.

This incident, Shekhawat said, should serve as an eye-opener for women cricketers that they are as vulnerable to such approaches as their male counterparts.

"People involved in betting just need any cricket match, for them, it does not matter at what level it is being played," he said. "If a match is telecast, that helps them in betting and that's why they indulge in spot-fixing."