Best to appoint 'fresh probe panel' - Niranjan Shah
The IPL's governing council will meet before the BCCI's working committee in Delhi on Friday and is likely to discuss the findings of the IPL inquiry panel, the setting of which up was declared "illegal" by the Bombay High Court on Tuesday. The council's stand on the report - to accept it or to abide by the court order and investigate afresh - will decide how the working committee plays the issue.
It is currently unclear what decision the council meeting - likely to be chaired by Arun Jaitley, the DDCA president - will take but there is some build-up of opinion in favour of the report being shelved and the court's directions being honoured.
On the eve of the meetings Niranjan Shah, a BCCI vice-president, said he believed it would be best to appoint a fresh committee to investigate the alleged corruption in the IPL. "It is my personal opinion that following the Bombay High Court order, it is in the best interest of the board to appoint a fresh probe panel," Shah told ESPNcricinfo.
The two-member committee, which had submitted its report on Sunday, had essentially cleared the owners of Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings of wrongdoing in the IPL. However, following a petition filed by the Cricket Association of Bihar, the Bombay High Court had questioned the legality of the process by which the panel was set up and said the matter should be investigated afresh.
The governing council will discuss the inquiry report and, if it endorses the panel's recommendation of acquitting Raj Kundra, co-owner of Rajasthan Royals, Jaipur IPL Cricket Pvt Ltd, Royals' holding company, India Cements, owner of Chennai Super Kings, and Gurunath Meiyappan, Srinivasan's son-in-law and Super Kings official of wrongdoing for want of evidence, then the report will be tabled in the working committee meeting later in the day and Srinivasan's quest for returning to power would get a boost.
If the governing council rejects the report, then the working committee may be compelled to set up a fresh inquiry, and the voices of dissent within the BCCI against Srinivasan may be heard. However, despite Shah's stated reservations, it is uncertain to what degree the members will stress their growing feelings of uneasiness over BCCI's method of functioning at the meeting.
The inquiry committee was set up by the BCCI following multiple arrests for alleged spot-fixing and betting in the IPL. Given the implication of his son-in-law and India Cements, the company of which he is vice-president and managing director, Srinivasan had stepped aside as board president for the duration of the probe and passed on the duties to Jagmohan Dalmiya. As per the probe report submitted at the working committee meeting in Kolkata on Sunday, the panel, comprising two retired high court judges T Jayaram Chouta and R Balasubramanian, didn't find any evidence to prove corruption charges.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo