Leaked conversation sheds light on cricket corruption battle

At a time when the role of international cricket's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) is under intense scrutiny, this episode highlights the complicated scope of the body’s work, writes Osman Samiuddin.

A leaked telephone conversation between an anti-corruption official and an Indian man arrested several times on suspicion of being a bookmaker sheds light on the complexities of the work being done by international cricket’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU).

The conversation, between the ACSU’s Dharamveer Singh Yadav and Atanu Dutta was broadcast on a Bangladesh TV channel and is on YouTube. A transcript of it was published by the Dhaka Tribune on Tuesday.

In the conversation, which took place inside a stadium during the recent World Twenty20, Dutta appears to be asking Yadav to help him leave, suspecting that he may have been spotted.

Yadav is heard telling Dutta to be “careful this time” and that “last time I faced some problems because of this”, as he instructs him to leave the venue.

On the surface that could be seen as a startling exchange between a man charged with fighting corruption and a man alleged to be responsible for it. But it has emerged that Dutta may be an informer for Yadav, who is based in India but oversees the region.

Dutta was arrested three times in Bangladesh during March and April this year but released each time. On one occasion when he was arrested, on March 21 at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium in Mirpur during the India-Pakistan match, he was released after Yadav confirmed to police he was an informer.

It is thought to be that occasion that Yadav is referring to in the conversation when he speaks of the “problems” he faced “last time”.

Reports of the conversation have been doing the rounds in Bangladesh for nearly a month. The Tribune published the conversation in Bengali a couple of days ago, before publishing the translation.

Dutta has been released after his last arrest in mid-April, but there is enough in his past and his continual arrests – as described last month by Mohammad Isam on ESPNcricinfo – to create and sustain doubt.

At a time when the role of ACSU is under intense scrutiny, this episode highlights the complicated scope of the body’s work.

It emerged last week that the boards of Australia, England and India want to carry out a significant revamp of the ACSU.

The”Big Three” want to divest the powers of the ACSU to the anti-corruption bodies of individual boards. There remains plenty of speculation about what has prompted the calls for reform, ranging from friction between deposed Indian board head N Srinivasan and ACSU head YP Singh, through to concerns that investigators and their methods are outdated.

That has led to a series of conveniently timed leaks of a case the ACSU has been working on centred around the evidence and testimony of former New Zealand cricketer Lou Vincent.

Vincent’s 42-page testimony has sparked fears of a wide-ranging corruption ring not in international cricket but in the many domestic Twenty20 leagues around the world. It emerged from there that Brendon McCullum, the New Zealand captain, was approached by a big-name former player to fix matches. He refused and reported it to the ACSU and is not under investigation.

Chris Cairns, another former New Zealand cricketer, issued a statement on Monday evening rejecting allegations he felt were directed at him. “Based on the limited information I have received during this investigation, I believe it is being alleged that I am that player. These allegations against me are a complete lie,” said Cairns.


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Published: May 20, 2014 04:00 AM


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