New Delhi, Feb 22: The Left parties today demanded that the Centre probe into the source of ''hundreds of crores of rupees of black money'' spent on the auction of Indian cricketers and that how a senior member of the government was associated with the ''outrageous gambling.'' Talking to UNI, the top leaders of the CPI (M), CPI and Forward Bloc deplored the ''pampering'' of cricket, at the expense of other games - be it hockey, football, kabaddi, athletics -- which were being eliminated systematically.
''This is a sheer outrage, a total denegration of sports of cricket. It will not only spoil the future of this game but make every youngster not a good sportsman but a man hungry for money,'' eminent parliamentarain and senior CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said. Terming it ''commercialisation of public life'', he said it was also important to know the source of all this money. ''Hundreds of crores of rupees are being spent on cricketers who have made themselves available to be purchased like any ordinary commodity.''
''I demand the Centre must look into the source of this huge black money, espcially when the country is having the highest number of hungry people in the world,'' Mr Dasgupta said, adding the probe should also look into as to how a senior Union Minister is also associated with it. He was alluding to Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who is the chairman of the BCCI.
Senior CPI(M) leader Mohammad Salim observed that it is an example how the ''so-called market economy'' could even commercialise a game like cricket. ''First cricket was marketed, then the cricketers and now the cricketers and the cities.'' ''Now when the advertisement world has determined the price tag for the individual cricketers in the auction, all the money will be realised from the innocent sport-loving fans,'' Mr Salim, the party Deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, said.
CPI National Secretary D Raja observed that cricket had now become the ''most-pampered game''in the country. ''It has become a business for which money decides every thing. The government's role must be looked into for this sorry state of affairs,'' he said. He slammed the government for not having any comprehensive sports and games policy with the result that adequate funds had not been provided to promote athletics and other games.
''After Anju Bobby George, who is there in the athletics arena. PT Usha, Milkha Singh, Shiny Wilson, A Nachappa are the stories of the past. Is not the concern of the country as a whole?'' he asked. CPI National Council member S Sudhakar Reddy and Forward Bloc National Secretary G Devrajan said the whole exercise demonstrated how the millionaires were making considerable efforts to turn their black money into white.
''The whole unbelievable and shameful episode should be thoroughly probed by a government agency,'' they added.