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Apr 28, 2008 at 10:47pm IST

Cable theft at Eden Gardens ahead of IPL clash

Kolkata: It seems that Eden Gardens' bad days are far from over. After a power failure, unsporting pitch and water shortage during a match last week, the hallowed turf has earned negative publicity yet again with the discovery of a cable theft.

With just two days left for the Indian Premier League (IPL) match between home team Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians, the theft of altogether 500 m of power and telecom cable from three points of the stadium Saturday night comes as a big setback for the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB).

BATTLEGROUND NOT READY: Kolkata Knight Riders play Mumbai Indians at Eden Gardens on Tuesday.

A first information report (FIR) has been filed at the Maidan police station as the CAB cried conspiracy.

Three hundred metres of power cable between the C and D blocks connecting the electronic scoreboard and hoardings on the boundary line were found missing, the police said. Another 200 m of cable between B and C blocks and the generator connection cable under gallery C were also stolen, said CAB president Prasun Mukherjee.

"I am shocked. Somebody who has good knowledge of the ground has done it. Otherwise how could the culprit avoid the CAB staff and policemen who have been on duty round the clock?" said Mukherjee.

"It clearly shows that some people are trying to jeopardise the matches," he added.

CAB treasurer Tushar Sarkar, however, assured that Tuesday's match would not be affected as the cables were replaced. "There will be no problem in the functioning of the light tower," he said.

Police Commissioner Goutam Mohan Chakraborty inspected the Eden in the evening, and said he was satisfied with the overall arrangements.

Asked about the flood light arrangements, he said: "The problems that surfaced in the last match have been rectified. Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) has taken the necessary steps. I am confident uninterrupted power can be supplied."

Chakraborty was also surprised by the theft despite the presence of security personnel and added that the detective department will probe the matter.

He also accused the organisers of trying to create an artificial demand for tickets.

"We heard and saw people were not getting tickets from the counter. Then we took up the matter with the organisers. They have been asked to brief us daily on the ticket sales," said Chakraborty, adding that the police department would be in charge of ticket sales in the remaining five IPL matches here.

The police chief said that apart from Kolkata team owners and film stars Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla, Mumbai Indians owner and industrialist Mukesh Ambani and actor Hrithik Roshan would be in the gallery Tuesday.

Chakraborty added he was not sure of a foolproof security and said: "I am worried. Some mischief makers are there. But we have to make proper arrangements. And we are working in that direction".

Eden Gardens had hogged the limelight for all the wrong reasons right from its first match in the IPL, April 20, between Knight Riders and Deccan Chargers. The match was halted for 31 minutes after flood lights in two of the four towers went out.

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