The Anti-Corruption Tribunal, set up by the Bangladesh Cricket Board to deal with the Bangladesh Premier League match-fixing issue, on Wednesday suspended former national captain Mohammad Ashraful for eight years and fined him Tk 10 lakh. The Tribunal, which announced the sanction after a long hearing at its Gulshan office, also banned Dhaka Gladiators managing director Shihab Chowdhury for 10 years along with a fine of Tk 20 lakh.
‘Mohammad Ashraful had four charges against him,’ the Tribunal chief, retired justice Khademul Islam Chowdhury, told reporters at a packed press conference after the hearing. ‘In the first charge he will not be allowed to participate in any form of cricket for the next eight years.’
‘The punishment for the second charge is also the same and an additional Tk 10 lakh fine. For the third and fourth charges he will also receive the same punishment.’
The punishments, which will start from the day of provisional suspension in June last year, will run concurrently meaning Ashraful will have to serve the ban for only eight years.
New Zealand cricketer Lou Vincent and Sri Lankan Kaushal Lokuarachchi, who were charged for failure to report corrupt approach, have been suspended for three years and one year and a half respectively.
Lokuarachchi played for Dhaka Gladiators along with Ashraful while Vincent, who is facing similar allegations in India and England, played for Khulna Royal Bengals.
Ashraful in June 2013 confessed to being involved in the BPL match-fixing scandal and was immediately suspended by the BCB. He was later charged with nine other individuals by the ICC in August 2013. Vincent was implicated during the trial
‘The accusation is formed on BPL 2013 cricket matches against Chittagong, Barisal, Khulna and Sylhet Royals. ‘The accusation is that these four matches were fixed,’ said the Tribunal chief.
The Tribunal, however, kept the door open for Ashraful for an early return provided he attends an anti-corruption education or rehabilitation programme, organised by the cricket regulators.
‘After five years his suspension can be lifted if he participates in an authorised anti-corruption education or rehabilitation programme organised by the BCB, ICC [International Cricket Council] or ACC [Asian Cricket Council],’ said the Tribunal chief.
The banned players and official can appeal to the disciplinary panel of the BCB within 21 days against the sanction. If they are not still satisfied they can go to international court of arbitration for sports in Switzerland, said the Tribunal chief.
Ashraful, the youngest ever Test centurion at 17, attended the sanction hearing personally while all other accused were represented by their respective lawyers.
‘I have committed wrongdoing and that’s why (I received) the punishment,’ Ashraful admitted once again Wednesday on private Somoy television.
‘It’s natural. There’s no shortcut in life.
‘I’ll be back to the field even for a day for all these people (who supported me),’ he said.
Ashraful’s British lawyer Yasin Patel said: ‘We will receive the full documents within two weeks and will decide later.’
The Tribunal on February 26 had acquitted six other accused including former Test cricketer Mohammad Rafique, left-arm spinner Mosharraf Hossain and pace bowler Mahbubul Alam.
The acquitted persons had demanded compensation, something which the Tribunal rejected.
-With New Age input