“The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” – Jesus.
Indian Premier League, India’s version of cricket in T-20 format has always had this greed hidden somewhere. There have been talks in hushed tones that some players play for their teams rather than the country. The cash rich game laced by glamour was bound to have such allegations.
But today as a cricket loving nation woke up, and some fans were still thinking how Rajasthan Royals lost a close game last night, we were all in for a surprise – Kerala speedster and former fast bowler Sreesanth was arrested by the Delhi Police along with his Rajasthan Royals team mates, Ankit Chavan and Ajit Chandilia. Along with them, 7 bookies have also been arrested. And how did the Delhi police nab the three? Courtesy social messaging app – WhatsApp and BBM, reports FirstPost.
The news that spread like wildfire since morning, brings the ghost of match fixing back to the circuit of Indian cricket. The 3 players have been detained for their alleged role in spot fixing during the last three IPL matches – Royals vs Warriors on May 6, Royals vs Kings XI on May 9 and Royals vs Mumbai on May 15.
However, the interesting development that messaging services like WhatsApp and BBM were used by the players and bookies to coordinate, was highlighted earlier in the day by Times Now. According to Times Now, Delhi Police had around 70 phones under surveillance during their probe into spot fixing in the IPL and were tracking messaging software like Whatsapp and Blackberry Messenger. It was while tracking these phone numbers, shared Neeraj Kumar, Delhi Police Commissioner in a press conference today, that they came to know about the spot fixing issue.
“The modus operandi was: there was an agreement between the bookies and a player that in a certain over they will give away a minimum amount of runs. The bookies also gave the players the directions. That they have to indicate they are ready to give away those runs. You rotate your watch or you put on your towel or you spend some time setting the field,” shared Neeraj Kumar at the press meet.
The Twitter world has been furious with the recent development of spot fixing taking away the charm of the IPL games. #SpotFixing and #Sreesanth have been trending from the moment news came out. The underline tweets give you the hint what greed has landed the players into when they already were getting enough.
Sad. My favourite IPL team, my favourite captain Rahul Dravid… let down my these rascals.
— Pritish Nandy (@PritishNandy) May 16, 2013
we’ve often talked about educating and mentoring. i suspect fear might be a stronger option. fear out of very stringent punishment
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) May 16, 2013
Interestingly, both the messaging services which are considered more secure and have always been debated about their use has laid the trap. WhatsApp, that uses the mobile phone number as a user ID, can be monitored but BBM that relies on a unique PIN number that exists outside of your mobile network, has been tracked quite easily. This also puts a lid on the debate relating to the impossibility to track BBM, which has been misused especially during the London riots last year. In fact SEBI has been finding ways to check the use of such messaging apps, as reports have surfaced that these apps are being used to spread sensitive market related information to influence certain stocks.
One may debate that messages you send across these networks are by no means secure but then one needs to worry only if they are on the wrong side. But for now the players who have been booked under 420 and 120B, have been trapped by technology and social media gave the verdict before the final judgement.