How the IPL fixing case led to the Lodha report
A sequence of events starting from the IPL 2013 spot-fixing scandal reached its logical conclusion when the three-member Lodha panel submitted its report on the functioning of the BCCI to the Supreme Court on Monday. The panel proposed sweeping changes to deal with significant issues like conflict of interest, which were thrown up within the board during the investigation of the 2013 scandal. Here's a look back at the main events that triggered the Lodha panel's recommendations for the BCCI's structure.
S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila are arrested by the Delhi Police on charges of fraud and cheating, for the alleged fulfillment of promises made to bookies. The BCCI reacts by suspending the three players, who are later released on bail. The Mumbai Police arrests Gurunath Meiyappan, a top official of the Chennai Super Kings franchise and son-in-law of former BCCI president N Srinivasan on May 24 on charges of cheating, fraud and forgery. In June, Delhi Police commissioner Neeraj Kumar claims Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra had has confessed to betting on IPL matches, including those involving his team; Kundra is later suspended by the BCCI.
The IPL governing council appoints a three-member probe panel, including two former High Court judges, to look into the complaints against India Cements, Gurunath and Jaipur IPL Pvt Ltd, the owners of Rajasthan Royals. Questions about the panel are raised, however, after news emerges that members of the governing council were unaware of when and how the three-man commission was selected for the inquiry. The two-member panel submits its report in July, and finds "no evidence of any wrongdoing" by Kundra and Gurunath.
Responding to a public interest litigation by the Cricket Association of Bihar, the Bombay High Court states that the BCCI's probe panel was constituted illegally, and says there was disparity in the evidence collected by the panel. The following month, the Supreme Court of India issues notices to the BCCI, N Srinivasan, his company India Cements - which owns Super Kings - and Royals on an appeal challenging the Bombay High Court order for not appointing a fresh committee to probe the alleged corruption in the IPL.
The Supreme Court constitutes a three-member probe panel to conduct an independent investigation into the corruption allegations in the IPL. The panel comprises former High Court judge Mukul Mudgal, senior advocate and additional solicitor general L Nageshwar Rao and Assam Cricket Association member Nilay Dutta. The committee is given four months to complete its probe.
The Mudgal probe panel's first report finds evidence that Gurunath and Kundra indulged in betting. Gurunath is also charged with passing on information during IPL 2013. The panel also submits to the court a sealed envelope - to be opened and read only by the judges - containing the names of persons allegedly involved in sporting fraud. In March, the Supreme Court asks then BCCI president N Srinivasan to step down to allow for a fair investigation of the IPL corruption scandal. Justice AK Patnaik questions Srinivasan's position, asking "How did he stay on despite all the allegations? His staying on is nauseating for cricket." The Supreme Court then proposes that Sunil Gavaskar replace N Srinivasan as BCCI chief, and recommends that employees of India Cements, of which Srinivasan is managing director and which owns Super Kings, be kept out of the BCCI set-up.
The Supreme Court asks the Mudgal probe panel to continue its investigation into the IPL corruption scandal, in particular the 13 names mentioned in the sealed envelope submitted to the court in February. The panel is given greater powers - including search and seizure of relevant documents and recording evidence - to investigate the contents of the sealed envelope and the allegations in the IPL 2013 scandal. The court directs the panel to submit a report in August.
The Supreme Court names four individuals - Srinivasan, IPL chief operating officer Sundar Raman, Gurunath and Kundra - in connection with the Mudgal report into the 2013 IPL spot-fixing case, which, the court observes, has suggested several "misdemeanours". The report finds Srinivasan not guilty of either betting or fixing, or of trying to prevent the investigation into the IPL 2013 corruption scandal. It states, however, that he, along with four other BCCI officials, knew about an IPL player violating the code of conduct, but took no action. The report says that Raman knew a contact of a bookie and had contacted him eight times in a season, and notes that investigations into Kundra stopped "abruptly and without reason" when the Rajasthan police was given information about Kundra by the Delhi police.
The Supreme Court strikes down a controversial clause in the BCCI's constitution that allowed board officials to have a commercial interest in the IPL and the Champions League T20. The court also appoints a new three-member panel, headed by former Chief Justice of India, RM Lodha, to decide on the quantum of punishment for Meiyappan and Kundra and for the respective franchises, if necessary, which would be final and binding upon the BCCI and the parties concerned. The panel is also directed to look into the role of Raman in the spot-fixing scandal and decide on a punishment, if necessary. The panel is also asked to suggest amendments to the processes followed by the BCCI with a view to preventing sporting frauds and conflict of interests, and make the board more responsive to public expectations.
As part of its study of BCCI processes, the panel sends an 82-point questionnaire to top board administrators seeking clarity on the way the richest sports body in India functions. This questionnaire, incisive and pointed, is in keeping with the committee's brief from the court to recommend changes to the BCCI's constitution and manner of functioning.
The committee suspends India Cements and Jaipur IPL, the owners of the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals teams, for a period of two years. The committee also bans for life Meiyappan and Kundra from any involvement in cricket matches.
The Lodha panel submits its final report to the Supreme court in which it recommends sweeping changes to the BCCI's administrative and governance structures.