Dhaka Gladiators owner guilty of corruption in BPL

(Cricinfo) One of the owners of Dhaka Gladiators, Shihab Jishan Chowdury, has been found guilty of “being party to an effort to fix” a match in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) 2013. Six others, including Kent allrounder Darren Stevens, have been discharged as not guilty by the tribunal investigating alleged corruption in the BPL, but both the ICC and Bangladesh Cricket Board said they were “disappointed” by the outcome and may yet consider an appeal. Mahbubul Alam  and Mosharraf Hossain were also found not guilty by the tribunal, as were Salim Chowdhury, the Dhaka Gladiators owner, Gaurav Rawat, CEO of the Gladiators franchise, andMohammad Rafique, the bowling coach.

Bangladesh batsman Mohammad Ashraful had earlier confessed to being involved in corruption in the BPL, as did one other player, who is yet to be named.

The quantum of punishment for Shihab, Ashraful and the other player will be pronounced at a later date.

The incident of alleged match and spot-fixing came to light in May 2013 when BCB president Nazmul Hassan confirmed that a Bangladesh player had been questioned by the ICC. Ashraful was the first player to admit to being involved in corruption, after which formal charges were laid against nine individuals, including six players from the Dhaka Gladiators franchise.

The BCB decided “not to involve” Ashraful in any kind of cricket until investigations into the matter were complete, and appointed a disciplinary panel, from which an anti-corruption tribunal was formed to probe the issue. The tribunal held a preliminary hearing in November last year and the full hearing of the tribunal began in January.

The charges against the players were drawn up following an investigation carried out by the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit. Stevens had been charged for failing to report a corrupt approach during the tournament. Bangladesh cricketers, Mosharraf and Mahbubul had pleaded not guilty against charges of fixing during a preliminary tribunal hearing. Following the tribunal’s ruling, Mosharraf said: “I am absolutely delighted by the verdict. There was a lot of pressure on me, but I feel relieved. Now I will start playing domestic cricket again, try to get a place in the national team. I was never involved in these sort of things, never talked to anyone about this. I just got embroiled. But thanks to the judges, now I can play again.”

Stevens said in a statement: “I can assure all of the fans of the Dhaka Gladiators, the people of Bangladesh and all cricket followers, that I have always played the game of cricket honestly, with integrity and to the best of my ability. I have loved playing cricket in Bangladesh, as well as everywhere else in the world and I hope that I will be allowed to continue to play cricket globally.”

The ICC, however, said it was “surprised and disappointed” with the outcome of the probe. In a statement issued with the BCB, it said: “The ICC and the BCB have received the determination and are surprised and obviously disappointed with the outcome. Both organisations await the tribunal’s detailed written determination setting out the reasons for the outcome, which will be provided shortly, and will consider it carefully before determining the next steps, including whether to appeal any aspect(s) of the judgment. In the meantime, no further comment will be made by either the ICC or the BCB.”

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