The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up IPL Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sundar Raman for his focus on entertaining celebrities instead of taking actions against those involved in the IPL 2013 betting and spot-fixing scandal.
A bench of Justices TS Thakur and FMI Kalifulla questioned his counsel as to why he did not take any measures on receiving information that N Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan and Rajasthan Royals’ Raj Kundra were in touch with actor Vindu Dara Singh in connection with alleged betting.
“You did not think it fit of talking to somebody in BCCI on receiving information of betting and allegations against two individuals. As silent spectator you are watching the fun involving celebrities. What will you do when son-in-law of the BCCI President is indulging in illegal activity like betting? You have to rise above everything on the occasion. You have done nothing. You should have informed that Meiyappan was indulging in betting,” observed the bench.
The remarks against Raman came after his counsel V Giri said that he had received information on betting from the chief of BCCI’s anti-corruption unit Y P Singh but Singh had simultaneously termed the alleged acts as “not actionable” under the pertinent rules.
The court also questioned Giri as to why Raman contacted Vindu Dara Singh five times and even admitted knowing bookies. It further censured Raman for not maintaining any correspondence with BCCI officials on receiving information on betting. “It is convenient to say there is nothing against me. But when you received information about Meiyappan and Kundra did it not occur to you as COO that you gather information for the sake of the BCCI. Why did you not put everything in writing?” the bench asked.
Giri maintained that all the information received by Sundar Raman was hearsay. The Mudgal Committee, in its findings, had recorded: “This individual (Raman) admitted knowing the contact of the bookies but, however, claimed to be unaware of his connection with betting activities. “This individual also accepted that he had received information about individual 1 (Meiyappan) and individual 11 (Kundra) taking part in betting activities but was informed by the ICC-ACSU chief that this was not actionable information. This individual also accepted that this information was not conveyed to any other individual.”
Meanwhile, the court also decided to examine the amendment in the BCCI rules, which enabled office bearers to own teams in the IPL and Champions League and the corresponding issues of the conflict of interest. The bench termed the issue of conflict of interest as “relevant” and decided to scrutinse the controversial amendments amidst blame game by top cricket administrators, Srinivasan and IS Bindra, over its introduction in the BCCI rules. “The conflict of interest is involved since 2008, which has created the mess,” Bindra’s counsel Rajiv Dhavan said and added that “the game of cricket is going to dogs”.
However, during his submission, he was interrupted by Srinivasan’s counsel Kapil Sibal, who said: “It was Bindra who had confirmed the minutes of the meeting on amendment and today five years after he is raising it here”.