Letters reveal panel appointment process flawed
Letters written by two senior former BCCI officials to the petitioner in the Bombay High Court case have revealed how the appointment of the two-man inquiry commission, which cleared the owners of the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals IPL franchises, followed a flawed process.
Replies from Sanjay Jagdale, former BCCI secretary, and Ajay Shirke, former treasurer, to Aditya Verma, the secretary of the Cricket Association of Bihar, on specific questions about the appointment of the panel reveal that the board had not followed the correct procedure under its constitution. The court, delivering its judgment on Verma's petition, ruled on Tuesday that the panel was constituted illegally.
Concerns about the committee were raised soon after its constitution on May 28. On May 26, Srinivasan had said that the probe panel would comprise an independent member and two out of a group of five people: Jagdale, Shirke, the then-IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla, BCCI vice-president and IPL governing council member Arun Jaitley, and governing council member Ravi Shastri.
On May 28, the BCCI issued a press release stating that the governing council had appointed a panel consisting of two retired judges from Tamil Nadu, T Jayaram Chouta and R Balasubramanian, and Jagdale.
However, in his reply to Verma, Jagdale said he had no knowledge of any governing council meeting on May 28. "I'm not aware of any such IPL GC meeting on May 28 2013 to appoint a three-member probe panel," Jagdale wrote. He added that in the evening of the same day, Ratnakar Shetty, the BCCI's game development general manager, had informed him over the telephone about the institution of the panel. Jagdale also stated he had received a letter, signed by Shetty, on May 30 about the panel's appointment.
Shirke, too, stated he was not aware of a governing council meeting having taken place in New Delhi on May 28. Like Jagdale, Shirke also said he did not know "who suggested the names of the two retired judges to be appointed on the three-member probe panel."
In June, ESPNcricinfo had learned that at least two members of the governing council were unaware of where and when the panel, originally comprising three members, had been set up. It was also learned that two other governing council members were called over the telephone to take their consent before the decision was announced.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo