India news March 7, 2014

BCCI points out Mudgal report ambiguity

Ugra: 'Chennai Super Kings more equal than others'

The BCCI's first formal response to the Supreme Court about the Mudgal Commission's inquiry on IPL corruption has highlighted the ambiguity in the two reports submitted by the panel last month. In its response submitted to the Court on Thursday, the BCCI said it was not for the court to impose any punishment on the parties in question, but allow the board to initiate proceedings according to the IPL's operational rules.

The Mudgal report, submitted to the Supreme Court on February 10, said that the charges of betting and passing information during matches in his role as a Chennai Super Kings official during IPL 2013 had been proved against Gurunath Meiyappan. The panel established Gurunath had violated various IPL operational rules and left it to the Supreme Court to decide a punishment.

The Mudgal report presented to the Supreme Court was released to the public in two parts. The section titled 'Volume One,' signed by Justice Mukul Mudgal & L Nageswara Rao, is a broad summary of the findings. The other supplementary report by Nilay Dutta, the vice-president of the Assam Cricket Association and a member of the IPL governing council, contains investigative details of the meeting.

The report signed by Mudgal and Rao asks the court to "decide the further course of action" because the probe committee did not have the power to impose punishment. Dutta says, "This should not be misinterpreted to mean that the report suggests that the Hon'ble Court would decide on the punishment or penalty to be imposed." The BCCI's affadavit supported Dutta's comment that it was for the BCCI to set in motion a disciplinary procedure against Gurunath and Chennai Super Kings under the IPL operational rules.

According to the BCCI, the two reports also differ on the point concerning the Super Kings violating clause 11.3 of the Franchise Agreement, which deals with grounds on which the franchise agreement can be terminated. The BCCI said that while the Mudgal report finds Super Kings in breach of Clause 11.3, Dutta's report does not. The BCCI's affadavit, available with ESPNcricinfo, states, "The report of Shri Nilay Dutta, in Vol. II (Dutta report) has not found the third respondent (Super Kings) in violation of Clause 11.3 of the Franchiseee Agreement. The reasoning given is that it was nobody's case that Shri Gurunath Meiyappan was the owner of the franchise. Further, he would not qualify as "Owner" as defined in the Franchisee Agreement."

A closer look at Dutta's report comes with an additional comment. The report said that while, "Mr Gurunath Meiyappan cannot be deemed to be "the owner" within the meaning of Clause 11.3 of the franchisee agreement … the fact that Gurunath Meiyappan is not the owner of the franchisee will not make any substantial difference under the Operational Rules as to the liability of the IPL team Chennai Super Kings." This additional comment is, however, not mentioned in the BCCI affadavit.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo