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November 2, 2013
A law to combat corruption in sport
The three-man probe committee appointed by India's Supreme Court to investigate the IPL 2013 corruption and spot-fixing scandal will meet Mumbai Police joint-commissioner Himanshu Roy and the BCCI's anti-corruption unit in Mumbai on November 5 and 6. These meetings will take into account the police investigation in the two cities that fall within the commission's terms of reference, particularly important since formal charges have been laid on individuals connected with the IPL, as well as bookies relating to the scandal.
The commission's terms of reference are very specifically related to allegations of betting and spot-fixing on IPL matches as well as the general "involvement" in betting and spot-fixing against IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings official Gurunath Meiyappan, who is the son-in-law of BCCI president N Srinivasan, CSK team owners India Cements, and Rajasthan Royals team owners Jaipur IPL Cricket Private Ltd, as well as some players.
The commission has also sought information from the public, the first time any matter related to Indian cricket has been opened up for information from independent sources. It has asked "persons possessing information" connected to the investigation and its terms of reference to contact them, by November 15, through an email address - firstname.lastname@example.org - and has assured confidentiality.
The commission, which replaced the BCCI's own two-man probe panel after a protracted legal dispute, comprises Mukul Mudgal, former chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana high court, L Nageshwar Rao, additional solicitor-general of India, and Nilay Dutta, senior advocate and member of the Assam Cricket Association.
The initial part of the commission's investigation will involve studying internal documents around the IPL that will have to be made available by the BCCI.
In its original PIL, the Cricket Association of Bihar had asked for the inquiry to also include the question of "termination of the franchise agreement entered by the respondents 3 & 4 [India Cements and Jaipur IPL Cricket Private Ltd] with BCCI-IPL." The inquiry into the issue of "termination" was, however, set aside by the court as it formed a separate case by itself; it could theoretically be taken up following the conclusion of the Mudgal commission.
The commission, which has already met twice, is expected to arrive at a decision by the end of January. Its costs will be borne by the BCCI.
The commission was established by the court to investigate two key terms in a public interest litigation filed by the CAB, following the IPL 2013 corruption and spot-fixing scandal. In May, three cricketers belonging to the Rajasthan Royals IPL team, more than 20 bookies and Gurunath Meiyappan were arrested by Delhi and Mumbai Police for their alleged involvement - including in spot-fixing - with the illegal betting mafia. Rajasthan Royals owner Raj Kundra was also questioned by Mumbai Police and a handful more players by Delhi Police.
This case is unprecedented not merely in Indian cricket but in all of Indian sport due to the involvement of law enforcement agencies and the courts in matters related to betting and fixing. For the first time since it was informally understood from the mid-1980s that the illegal betting mafia was involved in Indian cricket, the police have made arrests of players and officials connected to cricket and formal charges have been laid - in this case, involving the IPL, which has just completed its fifth year.
Delhi Police has produced a 6000-page charge sheet, accusing 39 people, including three cricketers, under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for criminal conspiracy, cheating and dishonesty as well as provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). The Mumbai Police chargesheet extending for 11,500 pages, charged Gurunath under the IPC for cheating and fraud and, under the Bombay Police Act, 'cheating at games'. Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf has been declared as a "wanted accused" in the case.
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