Free Press Journal

Srini can’t head BCCI till he gets clean chit in probe: SC


N Srinivasan

N Srinivasan

“Having come to know the nature of allegations, we cannot close our eyes,” the bench said adding “Till probe is done, Srinivasan cannot come in BCCI.”    

New Delhi: N Srinivasan cannot head BCCI till he comes out clean in a probe conducted against him and 12 others, including India-capped cricketers, whose names have been mentioned by Justice Mudgal Committee report in the IPL betting and spot fixing scandal, the Supreme Court today said.

The court said that it cannot “close its eyes” to the allegations made by its probe committee in the scandal and a probe must be conducted to clear the air as  some prominent players were named in the report submitted in sealed envelop.

A bench of justices A K Patnaik and F M Ibrahim Kalifulla, however, expressed reservations over a SIT or CBI probe, saying that institutional autonomy of the Board has to be maintained and a committee constituted by the BCCI to look into the issue would be preferred.

“Having come to know the nature of allegations, we cannot close our eyes,” the bench said adding “Till it(probe) is done, Srinivasan cannot come in BCCI.”

“Allegations are against 13 people for which verification and inquiry is needed. Srinivasan names comes at the last. Very important cricketers name are there but we do not want to name them at this stage,” it said.

It said it is “keen” to maintain institutional autonomy of the Board and does not want Police or CBI to interfere in it by ordering probe by them.

“We are not inclined for probe by CBI/SIT/Police against them but we will do so if we are compelled. Who will inquire into the allegations. Think hard and give answer on the next date,” the bench said.

The bench said it cannot share the confidential report with probe agencies as the names of cricketers would become public and media would start mudslinging.

Referring to a sealed envelope report of Justice Mudgal Coommittee, the bench said, “It (report) said all these allegations were brought to his (Srinivasan) notice but he did not take any action. That means he was aware about the allegations and did not take it seriously.”

“Whom should we give the report? Should we give it to BCCI and Srinivasan or we constitute SIT for the probe,” the bench asked.

“We have confidence in BCCI. It should appoint a probe committee but it must comprise people of integrity. We do not want probe by SIT, CBI or Police,” it said.

The Board, which claimed to be working under a new management uninfluenced by its former boss, and Srinivasan vehemently opposed any probe by outside agencies but the Bihar Cricket Association, on whose plea the apex court appointed probe panel, favoured SIT probe.

The bench said it is concerned about the cricket and interim arrangement by replacing Srinivasan was made so that IPL image is not sullied and it remains a success.

It said that IPL 7, which is to begin today in Abu Dhabi, will continue as per schedule and allowed Sundar Raman to continue as chief operating officer of the seventh edition of IPL.

The bench allowed his continuation after veteran cricketer Sunil Gavaskar, appointed as an interim president of of BCCI for IPL by the apex court, had written to it to take a decision on the fate of Raman.

The apex court had earlier asked Gavaskar to take a decision on whether to remove Raman as COO or not.  In the meantime, lawyers appearing for BCCI and Srinivasan raised questions on the Mudgal Committee report and said that their clients did not make the statements as mentioned in the report after which allegation of corrupt practices was made against them.

They pleaded that they should be provided audio recording of interactions of the Mudgal committee with Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Srinivasan to present their case.

The bench agreed to hear their plea and posted the case for hearing on April 22.     At the outset of the proceedings, the objected over the BCCI’s arguments that there is no provision in Board rule for any interim president.

“It the matter comes to court indicating that something is wrong then what should court do? Can the court pass an order or not or the court should be bound by BCCI rules, tell us,” it said.

Srinivasan had yesterday knocked the doors of the apex court for reconsidering its interim order keeping him away from the affairs of the Board and sought its permission to resume his office, the tenure of which is till September this year.

Srinivasan, who narrated the sequence of events that led the apex court to ask him to discontinue functioning as BCCI president, had contended that “unfair and unsubstantiated allegations” were made against him by the senior counsel appearing for Bihar Cricket Association (BCA).

In an affidavit, he had claimed that he never interfered with disciplinary proceedings or criminal investigation against his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, who is one of the accused in IPL spot fixing.

Responding to the allegations levelled by the BCA and adverse remarks made by the apex court, Srinivasan, who is the Chairman of the India Cements, the owner of Chennai Super Kings, had said he never made any offer to step aside as the Board President and a proposal in this regard was given by the BCCI on March 27. (Reopens LGD10)

He had also denied allegation of senior advocate Harish Salve that he was guilty of corruption and “cover up” and also expressed his ignorance that the sealed envelope submitted by the Mudgal Committee contains any audio tapes having conversation between two accused of betting — Vindoo Dara Singh and Meiyappan.

The bench also allowed plea of senior Tamil Nadu IPS G Sampath Kumar, who initially probed the IPL betting racket and faced allegations of receiving bribe from a bookie, who wanted to be impleaded in the case.

Kumar, against whom disciplinary proceedings are underway, sought a stay of operation of the suspension order pending his plea before the apex court.

In the application, he submitted that the committee headed by Mudgal, which probed the IPL spot and match fixing, clearly suggested that he has been kept under suspension without assigning any reasons with a view to hamper and delay the investigation.

Modi in firing line of Sonia, Rahul, Priyanka