CBI Sets Up Special Unit to Probe Sports Fraud

NEW DELHI: To check 'fixing' in sports, CBI has set up a dedicated 'Sport Integrity Unit' to look into cases of fraud, including betting in any sporting event. "The stated objectives of this Sport Integrity Unit include investigating and inquiring into matters related to sports fraud, combating malpractices in sports and coordinating with sports federations and law enforcement agencies," CBI director Ranjit Sinha said on Tuesday. Currently, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Australian Federal Police and certain European countries have specialized units to check sports fraud. 
CBI had held discussions with officials of International Cricket Council (ICC) and Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) before setting up the unit. 
Sinha said CBI will also be actively engaging with Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports so that a law to deal with corruption in sports is put in place at the earliest. "This (law) would make India one of the very few nations in the world to have a dedicated unit set up as a part of its federal investigative agency to investigate sports fraud," he said, addressing the 15th DP Kohli Memorial Lecture organised by CBI. 
"In the years to come we shall further strengthen the unit and hope to make a substantial contribution in the fight against malpractices in sports. We look forward to support and cooperation from all stakeholders in making this initiative of CBI a success," the agency director said. Addressing the gathering, Sinha said it has always been the endeavour of CBI to understand the new areas of crime and reinvent itself to meet the emerging challenges. "In the last six months, we have been engaged in understanding the dynamics of corruption in sports and held discussions with various national and international stakeholders as also the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports," he said. "CBI has now taken note of growing incidents of corrupt practices in sports with its deep links to the underworld and to transnational organised crime networks," Sinha said, underlining the reasons behind establishing the special unit. In January 2012, CBI had designated one of its units to probe cases of human trafficking. 

"Incidentally, Indian Penal Code was amended a year later to provide enhanced punishment for offences related to human trafficking," he said. CBI has also taken the initiative to set up a Centre of Excellence that will build knowledge partnerships with leading national and international institutions in the fields of investigation, prosecution, technology, forensics and law, Sinha said. 

Holding that present-day law enforcement and policing are more complex and global than ever before, he suggested structured partnerships among investigating agencies worldwide to combat various crimes. "The threats we face today are increasingly dire in nature and expanding in scope. Policemen worldwide must understand and exploit the potentials of rapidly emerging new technologies that are revolutionising police practices. "When criminals are constantly discovering and exploiting vulnerabilities and are increasingly professional and organised in their approach, the potential damage is exponential. Therefore, it becomes an imperative for investigating agencies worldwide to enter into structured partnerships and forge strategic alliances," he said. CBI has inked memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with certain institutions of excellence to defeat the designs of criminals. 
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