BCCI counsel opposes any further probe by Mudgal committee

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved order on the probe panel to be formed investigate the allegations against N. Srinivasan and 12 cricketers in the Indian Premier League betting and spot-fixing scandal, contained in a sealed cover submitted by the Justice Mukul Mudgal committee. The court indicated that Justice Mukul Mudgal was the front runner for the task to ensure confidentiality of report.

Earlier, in his arguments, Gopal Subramanium, counsel for the Mudgal committee, made it clear that the panel expressed its willingness to conduct further probe and wanted such appointment made with the consent of the Board of Control for Cricket in India and all parties concerned. He said the committee wanted the assistance of the former CBI Director, M. L. Sharma, officers drawn from the Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai Police, and a former cricketer of repute to conduct the investigations.

Mr. Subramanium said the panel should be entrusted with suitable investigative powers and all those who were involved in the probe should exercise their duties with the utmost confidentiality. The probe could be completed in four months, he said.

Aryama Sundaram, appearing for the BCCI, opposed any further investigation by the Mudgal panel, saying its earlier findings were “ex facie erroneous.” He said the probe could be entrusted to the BCCI panel consisting of the former Calcutta High Court judge, Justice J. N. Patel, and the former Indian captain Ravi Shastri. As the third member R. K. Raghavan, former CBI director, had admitted his affiliation with the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association, the Board was willing to drop his name.

Counsel said the court must clarify that the allegation against Mr. Srinivasan was that he failed to act on the allegations against 12 cricketers.

Justice A.K. Patnaik, who along with Justice Ibrahim Kalifulla was on the Bench, however, told Mr. Sundaram: “It is not as simple as you think. What you say may not be entirely correct. Serious consequences could follow if we disclose the contents in the ‘sealed cover.’ It would be in the BCCI’s interest that the contents are not made public. It would not be proper to make them public, until the probe panel gives its findings. It is in your [BCCI’s] interest, we should not read out [the contents]. Let it be in the form of allegations and wait for the findings.”

Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Mr. Srinivasan, said counsel had heard the conversations on tapes and gone through transcripts of the submissions made by Mr. Srinivasan, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Gurunath Meiyappan before the Mudgal panel, which were not in any manner incriminating. He said the transcripts were contrary to the allegations made by the petitioner, the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB), that Mr. Srinivasan and Mr. Dhoni had misled the panel by saying that Mr. Meiyappan was a “mere cricket enthusiast” and that he did not discharge any key function in Chennai Super Kings. Mr. Srinivasan and Mr. Dhoni did not at any point of time say Mr. Meiyappan was a mere cricket enthusiast, counsel said.

Nalini Chidambaram and Adhitya Sinha, appearing for the CAB, urged the court not to allow Mr. Srinivasan to be a BCCI nominee in the International Cricket Council.

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