The BCCI on Tuesday challenged the credibility of the Mudgal panel in the Supreme Court, saying its indictment of ousted chief N Srinivasan and India captain M S Dhoni over an alleged cover-up in the IPL corruption case “had no basis” and was “erroneous.”
The BCCI raised strong objections to involving the Mudgal panel once again to probe the secret report containing allegations against Srinivasan and 12 players, and contended that the “motivated” accusations in the report had been made only by former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi.
The counsel for BCCI and Srinivasan were last week allowed access to the audio tapes of statements made before the Mudgal panel, after they countered the panel’s finding that they had lied about the role of Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan in the alleged scandal.
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“BCCI would want a new and a separate panel and not this panel. Certain findings of the two-member report (prepared by Justice Mukul Mudgal and senior advocate L N Rao) have not gone on any basis. We have the transcripts of the seven hour long tape, and the findings are specifically erroneous on the face of the records,” BCCI counsel C A Sundaram said.
Sundaram alleged that the tapes had been leaked, and were available on a certain website even before they were given to the court. He told a bench led by Justice A K Patnaik that the recording revealed that the charges against the 13 individuals in the panel’s confidential report had come from only one person: Lalit Modi.
“Can this be the genesis of a fresh probe? There is nothing incriminating against any of them (Srinivasan, Dhoni and IPL CEO Sundar Raman),” Sundaram said.
Supporting this, Srinivasan’s counsel said: “Much was said about Srinivasan and Dhoni describing Meiyappan as a mere cricket enthusiast. But now we have heard the tapes and no such statement was ever made by any of them. There is not a whisper. The petition is motivated and it is being supported by Lalit Modi and (former BCCI president) A C Muthiah.”
Both the counsel sought reinstatement of Srinivasan in case the SC decided to hand over the probe to the Mudgal panel instead of the one proposed by the BCCI on the last date of hearing.
BCCI had suggested the names of former cricketer Ravi Shastri, former Calcutta High Court chief justice J N Patel and former CBI director R K Raghavan. On Tuesday, BCCI said it was willing to substitute Raghavan since he had declared his proximity to Srinivasan.
“There is no finding against me in the first report. Let him come back at the helm of affairs after the IPL-7 is over. There cannot be a vilification campaign. He was the president when the first probe was conducted by the panel. Why should he not come back now?” counsel for Srinivasan said.
BCCI added that there was no rationale in changing the management of the BCCI if the probe had to be given to an outside agency.
While reserving its order on the constitution of the new panel, the court clarified that it had suggested further probe by the Mudgal panel so as to maintain confidentiality, and that the allegations would be known to other people if a fresh panel comprising new members was appointed.
Meanwhile, Justice Mudgal submitted a list of requests to the court in order to be able to conduct a second round of investigations. He has asked for the inclusion of 1972 batch IPS officer M L Sharma, who was also a special director of CBI, in the panel. The panel also wants an officer not below the rank of assistant commissioner of police, each from Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, and a former cricketer of repute and integrity. Like the first probe, the panel sought a four-month window to complete the investigation.