A day after the BCCI decided to propose to the Supreme Court a panel comprising a former investigative officer, a former judge and a former India cricketer, question marks have emerged over the suitability of all three members of the panel.
RK Raghavan, former director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, former chief justice of Calcutta High Court Jai Narayan Patel, and former India captain Ravi Shastri were finalised by the BCCI on April 20 as members of the panel that it would submit to the Supreme Court on April 22 for investigating the IPL corruption scandal. It has since emerged that Raghavan is secretary of a club in the TNCA, of which N Srinivasan is president; Patel, meanwhile, is connected to the BCCI interim president Shivlal Yadav through marriage.
Shastri's case is the clearest: He is a BCCI employee, contracted as a commentator.
Raghavan, whose name was opposed during Sunday's BCCI working committee meeting by former board president Shashank Manohar but was passed after a show of hands, has been the long-time secretary/ owner of the Kamyuth Club, which gives him voting rights in the TNCA. Kamyuth, one of the 148 clubs competing in the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association League, finished with 20 points in the 5th C Division of the TNCA League this year.
"There are about 150 club members in TNCA and I am just one of them. I don't want to speak much about it till the Supreme Court takes a call on it," Raghavan told ESPNcricinfo.
Raghavan was the chief of the Central Bureau of Investigation - India's premier investigative agency - in 2000 when the match-fixing scandal had broken and the former investigative officer had led the investigations that resulted in several international cricketers from various teams trapped in fixing-related offences. He had also interacted with the Justice Mukul Mudgal committee, which investigated the 2013 IPL corruption scandal on the instructions of the Supreme Court.
Even though the Mudgal committee report does not quote Raghavan anywhere in its report, ESPNcricinfo understands that Raghavan at the outset of his interaction had told the three-member panel that he knew Srinivasan personally.
Raghavan's name also featured in the BCCI's reply to the Supreme Court on March 25 regarding the recommendations of the Mudgal committee report. In accepting the Mudgal committee's recommendation about the need to urgently investigate leads and information, the reply said: "The BCCI has approached Dr R K Raghavan, Former CBI Director to study this issue and give his expert views on how to implement this." The second reference to Raghavan was over the Mudgal committee's recommendation that no individual in the BCCI should have the power to "curtail, restrict or define" the BCCI's investigative wing.
The BCCI stated that Ravi Sawani, the head of the BCCI's anti-corruption body did not need any permission to investigate and, "while studying the ways and means to a proactive approach to investigate confidentially the leads received from various sources, the BCCI will take into account the views of Dr RK Raghavan in this regard also."
Speculation over Justice Patel's links with Yadav had begun on Monday morning and the buzz grew when Pawar, who is also a union minister, told PTI that Yadav and Justice Patel should make their relationship public.
While Justice Patel didn't respond to ESPNcricinfo's request for a comment, he confirmed to television channel CNN-IBN that he and Shivlal are "brothers-in-law". Yadav told ESPNcricinfo, "Whatever queries you have, please ask the secretary."
BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel remained unavailable for a comment.
With conflict of interest issues about all three proposed candidates having been made public, it would be interesting to see if the Supreme Court accepts their nomination to investigate the IPL corruption scandal, involving Srinivasan' son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, the IPL franchise owned by Srinivasan's company and possibly the man himself. The petitioner in the court case, Aditya Verma of Cricket Association of Bihar, has already announced they will opposed the panel in the court.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo