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ICC finds Pune curator not guilty of corruption but gives suspension for not reporting approach

Pandurang Salgaonkar's suspension started from October 25, when the match between India and New Zealand was played, his six-month period is set to end on April 25.

Reported by: PTI, Dubai [ Published on: March 06, 2018 20:08 IST ]
A file image of MS Dhoni inspecting the pitch before the matchPhoto:BCCI

The ICC handed a backdated suspension of six months to pitch curator Pandurang Salgaonkar for failing to report an approach by journalists posing as bookies ahead of the India-New Zealand clash in Pune last October. However, the ICC found "no evidence of corruption" against the curator.

Salgaonkar's suspension started from October 25, when the match was played, and the six-month period is set to end on April 25.

"The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Tuesday announced a six-month suspension on Maharashtra Cricket Associations pitch curator Pandurang Salgaonkar following its investigations over alleged charges of corruption made by India Today in October 2017," the ICC said in a statement.

It further stated: "Salgaonkar was charged with a failure to report an approach but no evidence was found of him actually having been engaged in corruption and therefore no charges were laid against him on that basis."

It was before the ODI against New Zealand, the television channel in question had two journalists, posing as bookies, do a sting operation on the former Maharashtra fast bowler.

The video showed Salgaonkar talking to the duo but it could not be ascertained as to what exactly was the topic of conversation. However, the Maharashtra Cricket Association suspended Salgaonkar with immediate effect, pending investigations.

ICC General Manager (Anti-Corruption), Alex Marshall, said: We have carried out an extensive investigation based on the allegations made by India Today and the material they shared with us.

I am satisfied that Mr Salgaonkar has no case to answer on the broad allegations of corruption made by the channel.

However, as he is bound by the ICC Anti-Corruption Code as a participant of the sport, he has been charged with breaching section 2.4.4 of the Code for his failure to report an approach to engage in corrupt conduct."

Mr Salgaonkar has accepted that he has committed the offence and has received a six-month suspension, which has been backdated to 25 October 2017, being the date he was internally suspended by MCA, and he will, therefore, be free to resume his duties on 24 April 2018, Marshall stated.

In a detailed investigation report that ICC published, the mitigating factors in Salgaonkar's case were: Voluntary admission and co-operation during an interview with ACU; Prompt admission of his breach following notice of charge; remorse and contrition; his contribution to the game over many years, principally as a volunteer.

The ICC's detailed report signed by Chief Executive David Richardson categorically mentions that there was no proof that Salgaonkar tried to "fix, contrive or improperly influence" any aspect of the ODI.

According to unedited footage, it also became clear that Salgaonkar had told the two journalists (posed as bookies) that "none of his wicket people (groundsmen)" will try to alter the condition of the pitch.

His prediction about the total being 335-340 was a general comment including the one where he said: "fast bowlers will get help".

MCA president Abhay Apte told PTI: "Since ICC has given its verdict, the managing committee of MCA will call a new meeting and take a fresh decision on his suspension. It is very clear from the detailed inquiry made by ICC that there was no pitch tampering or corrupt practices (fixing) involved. He has been punished on purely technical grounds.

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