The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to give a clean chit to sidelined Indian cricket board chief N Srinivasan in the IPL betting and spot-fixing case, brushing off a suggestion by the board that the bench clarify that he was accused only of "not acting on the allegations despite having specific knowledge".
"Should we read out portions of the secret report? Things are not so simple," a bench of Justices AK Patnaik and FMI Kalifulla told the board's counsel. "A judge and two lawyers have given a secret report on allegations," Justice Patnaik told BCCI counsel CA Sundaram who asked the bench to clear the air on Srinivasan.
The bench was referring to the Justice Mukul Mudgal inquiry panel report on the scandal that broke out about a year ago. The report has named some players and administrators who should be further investigated on the basis of leads collected by the fact-finding panel. The Mudgal panel had last week given its consent to continue the probe after the court recommended it to take up follow-up investigations. On Tuesday when the court reconvened to formally hand over the probe to the panel, Sundaram resisted the suggestion, seeking either a panel set by the BCCI or a fresh team to probe the allegations.
The court had earlier rejected a BCCI suggested three-member probe panel which comprised cricketer Ravi Shastri, former CBI director RK Raghavan and ex-Chief Justice of the Calcutta HC JN Patel. Sundaram offered to have Raghavan kept out of the BCCIsuggested panel, admitting he was close to Srinivasan. Its team would then comprise Justice JN Patel, the brother-in- law of senior BCCI vice president Shivlal Yadav, and Shastri. The bench, however, was cold to the suggestion.
Sundaram suggested an alternative, a fresh committee in place of the Mudgal panel. But if Mudgal were to continue with the probe, the BCCI management should be restored and Srinivasan should be allowed to return as its chief, Sundaram said. "Why should not he be allowed to come back? After all the BCCI is a private body," he contended. "If it's an external committee, there's no need for any change in the BCCI management," he said.
Srinivasan had stepped down as BCCI chief after the court asked him do so because of the allegations against him. In any case, the BCCI would set up a disciplinary panel to deal with all those indicted in the Mudgal report as also take action against certain franchisees linked to some indicted people, Sundaram said.
The bench said it would consider the board's suggestions and reserved its orders on the contours of a probe panel to deal with the allegations. The Mudgal panel, on its part, through lawyer Gopal Subramanium, sought assistance of ML Sharma, a former CBI special director, as well as members of the Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai police, which had already probed the IPL scandal, and a cricketer of repute. Any such probe panel, the court hinted, would have to complete the task in four months. Sundaram wanted the panel to wind up before September, ahead of the scheduled annual general meeting of the BCCI.
Courtesy: The Economic Times