The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has appointed Shabbir Hussein Shekhadam Khandwawala as the new head of the Anti-Corruption Unit, ahead of the Indian Premier League. A former DGP of Gujarat, the 70-year-old Khandwawala has taken over from Ajit Singh – whose term got over on March 31.
Singh, however, will be around till the end of the IPL to help in a smooth transition.
Talking to Sportstar, Khandwawala said that he is looking forward to the new role. “I have loved cricket since my childhood and during my stint with the Gujarat Police, I organised several cricket tournaments. Having led the Anti-Corruption Bureau, I have a fair idea and the BCCI ACU has done some real good work in the past.”
While he formally took charge on April 1, Khandwawala travelled to Pune on March 28 to watch the final ODI between India and England to get a hang of things. On that tour, he also met with the officials of the ICC and the Anti-Corruption Unit. “The young cricketers often fall in a trap due to lack of knowledge, so over the years, the BCCI ACU has organised sessions with the players and the team owners to make sure that they know what to do and what not to. Presentations were shown to them. Since the tournament will be held inside the bio-bubble, we have decided to address it team-wise and let them know the dos and don’ts,” the new ACU chief said.
While he believes that the government is right in not legalising betting as it could lead to ‘match-fixing, Khandwawala is confident of conducting a hassle-free IPL this year. “Every team has an integrity officer, who will be talking to the players and the team officials. They will make them understand. It is very important to prevent any approach. And we will ensure that things go smooth,” he said.
When the IPL was shifted to the UAE last year, the BCCI ACU had tied up with overseas agencies to track fixing approaches. Now that the tournament is back in the country, the ACU chief is prepared. “We have our sources, informers, the local police for all the help. We have activated all our contacts and are in close contacts with all of them. If they notice anything, we will immediately take action.”
“I will travel as much as possible and remain available. We will work closely with all the units and make sure that things are in control. All eight teams will have a security liaison officer, integrity officer and supervising officers. So, we will have a strong set-up,” the new chief said.
Khandwawala, a 1973 batch IPS officer, retired as Gujarat DGP in December 2010 and then served as an advisor in a multi-national company for a decade. He was also part of the central government’s Lokpal Search Committee, which was mandated to appoint the Lokpal.
While the BCCI had earlier invited applications for the ACU chief role, this time, the Board did not formally invite applications for the post. Khandwawala will be travelling to Chennai on Wednesday ahead of the IPL opener.