Huge controversy: Baroda Cricket Association appoints a criminal as their Ranji coach
Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) has appointed former Indian player Jacob Martin as their coach for the Ranji Trophy at a time recommendations are being made by the apex court of India to bring lucidity in the functioning. Martin has a criminal record and has spent time in the jail in the past. He recently came out on bail. The move seems to be a step backward as Martin has a poor off-field record. Some senior Baroda players and BCA officials felt Martin’s appointment is a move, which opposes Lodha Panel Recommendations. They also cited BCCI’s eligibility for selectors, which restricts anybody with a criminal record from applying for the job.
BCCI pay Jacob Martin Rs 30 lakhs despite being arrested for human trafficking in 2011.
Martin played 10 matches for India in which he had scored 158 runs with the highest score of 39.
A former player was quoted by Mid Day said, “How can someone who has spent time in Tihar Jail and whose case for which he was convicted, still pending be appointed as the Ranji Trophy coach? BCCI’s ‘no criminal record’ rule should also hold true for coaches and other office bearers.”
Meanwhile, another official said, “This is completely unethical. He may have been a very good cricketer, but he hasn’t been a law-abiding citizen. BCA has set a bad example by appointing him as coach. There are so many senior cricketers in Baroda who could easily have occupied the post.”
In the year 2009, Martin was arrested by Delhi Police for his alleged involvement in 2003 human trafficking case at the Indira Gandhi International Airport police station. According to the report a youngster with a fake passport accompanied Martin to the UK for playing cricket in exchange for money. The youngster recognised as Nimesh Kumar later also revealed that Martin made arrangements for the team with another associate for seven lakhs.
RA Sanjeev, the then Deputy Commissioner of Police at the IGIA was quoted by PTI as saying, “Martin formed a bogus team — Ajwa Sports Club — and identified himself as a playing member.”
It was also reported that Martin’s noncooperation with the investigation process also resulted in the rejection of his anticipatory bail plea by the Supreme Court and he was asked to surrender. In Fact, the Delhi Police also decided to reward any person who provides relevant information about Martin with a cash reward of Rs 25,000.
Lodha committee secretary Gopal Shankar Narayan also spoke about the issue when contacted by the Mid-Day said, “No chance that someone with such a record can be appointed a coach.”
The BCCI secretary , Ajay Shirke said, ”The matter pertains to a state association and BCCI doesn’t influence decisions of its members, especially relating to cricket.”
The advocates –Subhash and Seema Gulati- who are dealing with Martin’s case in Delhi High Court said,
“Yes, the Delhi Police arrested Martin for something which he didn’t commit. He was however sent to judicial custody but there was no concrete evidence to press charge against him and he is now out on bail. No charge sheet has been filed in this case too. We filed a revised petition against the charges and now the discharge application is pending in Delhi High Court. This will come up for hearing very soon.”
Meanwhile, Martin quipped , “I have full faith in the law and I am sure that I will come out clean. I just want to dedicate the rest of my life to the game and nothing else.”
A former Indian cricketer, who served the BCCI at a higher rank also spoke about the incident and not revealed his identity. He said, “People with a criminal history are MPs and ministers. What is the harm if he becomes a coach? Mind you, he hasn’t been proved guilty yet. He is a cricketer so let him do what he does best.”
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