BCCI seeks Dhoni's deposition before Mudgal committee
The BCCI has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking examination of the deposition of three key individuals before the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee that was appointed for a fact-finding mission on last year's IPL corruption scandal. The BCCI has requested audio recordings of India captain MS Dhoni, IPL chief operating officer Sundar Raman and sidelined BCCI president N Srinivasan. The Supreme Court heard the matter on Friday, and deferred it till April 16, the scheduled date of its next hearing of the IPL corruption case.*
At the Friday hearing, the court was informed by the secretary of the Justice Mudgal Committee, Vidushpat Singhania, that the court had been provided with minutes of the meetings and depositions before the panel, and not transcripts or recordings.
During the previous hearing of the IPL case, the court divided the BCCI presidency into two parts during its interim order. In that hearing, Harish Salve, representing the Cricket Association of Bihar, the petitioners against the BCCI, had accused Dhoni of having indulged in "corrupt practices" by covering up facts about the role of Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan in the Chennai Super Kings franchise. In the Mudgal report, the mention of Dhoni's deposition is as follows: "Mr MS Dhoni, Mr N Srinivasan and officials of India Cements took the stand that Mr Meiyappan had nothing to do with the cricketing affairs of Chennai Super Kings and was a mere cricket enthusiast supporting Super Kings." While Raman had told the Mudgal committee that the ownership structure of IPL franchises was "ambiguous", Srinivasan was referred to in the committee's report twice, with references made to his conflict of interest in the case.
At the start of its hearing, the Mudgal committee is understood to have recorded conversations in order to keep an accurate record of the minutes every deposition. Those being interviewed were told that the recordings would not be used in court and were deleted after the minutes had been accurately noted down. At one stage of the hearing, the recordings are known to have been stopped. Along with the Mudgal committee report, both parties were made available 4000 pages of annexures which did not consist of recordings from the 52 depositions made to the committee.
A sealed envelope, however, contains minutes of the meetings and depositions that took place before the committee pertaining to unverified allegations and should the court agree to hand over the minutes of the meeting, they will have to be made available to both parties.
During the March 25 hearing, the court stated while it could not divulge details of the sealed envelope given to them by the Mudgal panel, the BCCI's lawyers were shown certain portions of the report. When the counsel, CA Sundaram, said "We have not seen the contents of the report in the sealed cover", Justice Patnaik is believed to have summoned him to the bench and had him read a portion of the sealed envelope report.
06.25GMT, April 11: This article was updated after the court hearing on Friday.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo