BCCI seeks new IPL probe panel
The BCCI has objected to the Justice Mukul Mudgal commission being asked to follow up on their findings into allegations of betting and spot-fixing in the IPL. The BCCI, at a hearing on Tuesday, said it wanted the Supreme Court to form a new panel as it had found the Mudgal committee's report "erroneous". At the hearing on Tuesday, the BCCI counsel also asked the court to reinstate N Srinivasan to his office as BCCI president while the probe was being conducted.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday, reserved its order about the panel to investigate the allegations against 13 "very important personalities" in cricket. It is however, expected to issue an interim order regarding the composition of the second IPL corruption probe panel within a few days.
The next hearing of the case will only be in September, after the court-appointed panel has completed its investigation.
At a previous hearing on April 22, the Supreme Court when presented with the BCCI's selection of a three-member panel to look into the IPL corruption, had asked the Justice Mudgal committee to respond to the court's invitation to resume its investigation. The Mudgal panel had agreed to continue the investigation and on Tuesday, its counsel Gopal Subramaniam handed over a note from the panel detailing the assistance it would require and said that it would complete its investigations within four months.
The Mudgal panel also stated: "As this committee was appointed with the consent of the BCCI and the Cricket Association of Bihar, in the earlier order, the Committee requests that a similar consent may be obtained again." It is possible that the formation of an entirely new panel to investigate the allegations would be considered impractical because it would increase the potential for the information in the sealed envelope being leaked.
The request by Srinivasan's counsel that he be reinstated as BCCI president was not agreed to by the court. The counsel had argued that the sealed envelope only contained an allegation against Srinivasan that he had failed to act on a complaint made against an individual. To which Justice A K Patnaik said, "The contents of the sealed cover is not what you think it is." This has left Srinivasan's BCCI position in limbo as long as there an investigation on. Srinivasan had formally been removed from all BCCI duties from April 16 onward, Justice Patnaik saying that Srinivasan, "could not come back as BCCI president as long as the probe is on."
The court did not however hear the matter of Srinivasan continuing in the ICC, where he hopes to take over as its first chairman in June this year. According to Nalini Chidambaram, counsel for the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), the fact that the matter did not come in for a hearing was, "not really a setback. We only hope that the BCCI members will act fairly when a man is not fit to be BCCI president because under the ICC rules it is the BCCI who have to nominate their representative. So we only hope that good judgement will prevail on the BCCI members."
The case dates back to June 2013, when the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) secretary Aditya Verma raised charges of a conflict of interest in the BCCI's original two-member inquiry panel for the IPL corruption issue. A Bombay High Court ruling later termed the probe panel "illegal". The BCCI and the CAB filed petitions in the Supreme Court against this order, with the CAB contending that the Bombay High Court could have suggested a fresh mechanism to look into the corruption allegations.
The Supreme Court then appointed a three-member committee, headed by former High Court judge Mukul Mudgal and comprising additional solicitor general L Nageswara Rao and Nilay Dutta to conduct an independent inquiry into the allegations of corruption against Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, India Cements, and Rajasthan Royals team owner Jaipur IPL Cricket Private Ltd, as well as with the larger mandate of allegations around betting and spot-fixing in IPL matches and the involvement of players.