The Justice Lodha committee will, on Tuesday, announce the quantum of punishment for Gurunath Meiyappan, Raj Kundra and the franchises they were part of - Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals respectively - for their involvement in the IPL 2013 corruption scandal. The committee's report marks the beginning of the end of the IPL spotfixing case, which began in dramatic fashion more than two years ago with the arrest of Sreesanth and other players. It could end equally dramatically if the committee deems the two franchises fit for the maximum punishment. As Indian cricket holds its breath waiting for the report, here are the key issues for Tuesday.
What is the Lodha committee?
The Lodha committee was formed on January 22, 2015 by the Supreme Court after the Mudgal committee, appointed as an investigator into the IPL 2013 scandal, submitted its report. The committee, comprising retired Chief Justice of India, RM Lodha, and retired Supreme Court judges, Ashok Bhan and R Raveendran, have three main tasks to perform:
Determine appropriate punishments for Gurunath, Kundra and their respective franchises, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, following on from the Mudgal report.
Examine the role of Sundar Raman, the IPL chief operating officer, in the IPL 2013 scandal and, if applicable, impose a suitable punishment on him on behalf of BCCI
Suggest amendments to the processes followed by the BCCI with a view to preventing sporting frauds and conflict of interests, and also streamline the board's working to make it more responsive to the expectations of the public at large.
What will the Lodha committee do on July 14?
On Tuesday, the committee will announce the punishment for Gurunath, Kundra and their respective franchises. Both Gurunath, who is the son-in-law of former BCCI president N Srinivasan, and Kundra were found guilty of betting on IPL matches by the Mudgal committee. The respective franchises are also under the scanner. Super Kings, who had tried to distance themselves from Gurunath and his role in the team, have been accused of attempting to mislead the probe while Royals are in the dock due to the involvement of Kundra and the arrests of Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila for spot-fixing. The committee will first hand over its verdict to representatives of all the four entities and could then make the verdict public through a media briefing.
What is likely to happen with Super Kings and Royals?
While Super Kings distanced the franchise from Gurunath after his arrest in May 2013, Kundra recently transferred his shares and exited Royals' ownership group. There are four scenarios for the franchises with the verdict.
Super Kings and Royals could be suspended or banned from the IPL.
Both the teams could be fined heavily for committing several code breaches.
Super Kings could be suspended/banned while Royals could be fined.
Royals could be suspended/ banned while Super Kings could be fined.
Can the parties appeal?
While appointing the Lodha panel, the Supreme Court brief said: "The order passed by the committee shall be final and binding upon the BCCI and the parties concerned." However, experts feel an aggrieved party may still challenge the decision, citing several ongoing criminal proceedings against some of the accused.
Is this an end to the IPL 2013 corruption saga?
No. The criminal cases against the three cricketers - S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila - along with Gurunath are in progress in lower courts. The cases could drag on for years. Moreover, if the Lodha committee verdict is challenged, it may take more time for closure.
Is the Lodha committee's work done?
No. The committee still has two responsibilities to fulfil. The Lodha panel was set a deadline of six months but with time running out, the committee may seek an extension to take a decision on Sundar Raman and make recommendations to restructure the BCCI.