Dhaka, Aug 13 (IANS): Nine individuals have been charged under the Bangladesh Cricket Board's anti-corruption code for various offences that are alleged to have been committed during the 2013 Bangladesh Premier T20 League.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) announced here Tuesday that the charges relate to an alleged conspiracy within the Dhaka Gladiators franchise to engage in match-fixing and spot-fixing activity during matches in the BPL's second edition, as well as failures by individuals to report approaches made to them to be involved in the conspiracy.
The corruption scandal was unearthed by the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU), which was engaged by the BCB to provide anti-corruption cover during the BPL 2013.
In a report which followed a comprehensive investigation carried out by ACSU, both the ICC and the BCB officials said notices detailing the allegations were issued to the relevant individuals Tuesday.
But the ICC and the BCB emphasised the importance of recognising that all those charged remain innocent until proven guilty.
Moreover, in accordance with the BCB's anti-corruption code, they said their identities will not be disclosed until the conclusion of the disciplinary proceedings that have now been instituted against them.
Of the nine individuals, seven have been charged for fixing-related offences, with two others charged for failing to comply with their obligation to report corrupt approaches that were made to them, they added.
Mohammad Ashraful, who became Bangladesh's youngest Test centurion in 2001 at the age of 17 and captained Bangladesh between 2007 and 2009, is widely believed to be one of the nine individuals who have been charged with involvement in match-fixing.
Ashraful not merely confessed his roles in match-fixing but also made an apology shortly after BCB announced on June 4 that it would keep him away from all kinds of cricket.
He is among those who were questioned by the ACSU officials.
The allegations relate to two matches Ashraful's team Dhaka Gladiators played and lost against Chittagong Kings and Barisal Burners in February. Ashraful captained the Dhaka Gladiators to the BPL trophy.
According to the ICC and BCB officials, those facing the more serious fixing-related charges have been provisionally suspended and are immediately barred from participating in all cricket activities organised or recognised by the BCB, the ICC or of the ICC's member associations, pending resolution of the disciplinary proceedings brought against them.
All those charged now have 14 days to indicate whether they wish to plead guilty or to defend themselves against the charges brought against them in a full hearing, which would take place before an Anti-Corruption Tribunal convened in accordance with the processes set out in Article 5 of the BCB's Anti-Corruption Code, the officials said.
Those who plead guilty, or who deny the charges but are later found guilty by an Anti-Corruption Tribunal, would be subject to the sanctions mandated in Article 6 of the BCB's Anti-Corruption Code, which include the impositions of a suspension of: (a) between five years up to a lifetime for the fixing offences; and (b) between one to five years for any failure to report a corrupt approach.
"During its investigation, the ACSU interviewed a large number of people who were involved in BPL 2013 and collected significant evidence from a number of sources," ICC Chief Executive David Richardson, who paid tribute to the work of the ACSU, told reporters.
He said: "The evidence uncovered is a grave reminder of the need for the sport to remain vigilant against the continuing threat of corruption, and for players and support personnel to take personal responsibility for protecting the integrity of the game."