A day after the spotlight was turned on Indian captain M S Dhoni for allegedly lying to the IPL probe panel, the BCCI Friday came out in his defence in the Supreme Court and questioned the panel indicting him.
The panel, while holding BCCI chief N Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan guilty of betting, had trashed the statements made to it by Srinivasan and Dhoni that Meiyappan had nothing to do with the cricketing affairs of Chennai Super Kings. The two, the panel said, claimed Meiyappan was just a “cricket enthusiast” supporting the team.
On Thursday, Cricket Association of Bihar counsel Harsh Salve had accused the skipper of lying and indulging in “corrupt practices” by seeking to cover-up. It was also asserted that neither the BCCI nor any one in their individual capacity had challenged the findings of the panel and that the BCCI rather accepted the report.
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However, refuting the allegations against Dhoni, the BCCI Friday told a bench led by Justice A K Patnaik that Dhoni had never made the statement that Meiyappan was only a cricket enthusiast.
“False allegations have been made against Indian captain M S Dhoni. The allegations against him are false. The captain has told us he never said Meiyappan was a cricket enthusiast. He was only asked whether Meiyappan took part in the cricketing decisions of the team and he said no. There was no other statement by him,” contended BCCI counsel C A Sundaram.
‘Captain being vilified’
Sundaram alleged that the Indian captain was being “vilified” and that the media had been writing all sorts of things about him. But the court refused to entertain the BCCI’s arguments at this stage.
“Have we vilified him? Why are you telling us all this? Mr Salve made a statement yesterday. You will also have full opportunity to speak on April 16. We are only concerned with an interim arrangement today,” said the bench.
This however irked the BCCI counsel as he complained that Salve got 150 minutes to level “false” allegations but he was being declined time to argue.
The bench retorted: “Okay, so if you want to blast out for media, go ahead. Do so but we again say we are today concerned only and only about interim orders. We can hear you later.”
The BCCI counsel was assuaged after the bench told him it was not going to stop any team from participating in IPL-7 and will also not hold any prima facie case against anyone.