Deciding to keep N Srinivasan out of the BCCI’s affairs, the Supreme Court on Friday entrusted the Mudgal panel with the task of carrying out further probe into allegations against the ousted chief and 12 cricketers in the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal.
The 13 persons had been named by the panel, headed by Justice (retd) Mukul Mudgal, in its confidential report, commenting on which the SC had earlier said that it “cannot close its eyes” to the “serious allegations” against these “very important personalities in cricket.”
Also brushing aside the BCCI’s suggestion to let it have its own investigators, a bench of Justices A K Patnaik and FMI Kalifulla said that further investigation should not be conducted by any new panel, comprising outsiders.
“We are of the considered opinion that the allegations against the 13 persons, including Mr N Srinivasan mentioned in the report submitted in the sealed cover, should be investigated into by the Justice Mudgal Committee and the team of investigators because if a new Probe Committee is entrusted to inquire into the allegations, there is likelihood of the allegations being leaked to the public and such leakage will damage the reputation of the 13 persons beyond repair,” it held.
Taking on record the three-member Mudgal panel’s willingness to go for further probe, given it had necessary assistance in respect of investigative powers and experts, the bench said the panel will be assisted by IPS officer B B Mishra, currently the Deputy Director General of the Narcotics Control Bureau.
The court said Mishra shall head the probe team and will have officers from the police departments of Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. It also asked the government to issue necessary instructions to place Mishra and other police officers for the panel’s assistance in the probe.
“Mishra and the other officers of the investigating team will have the powers to investigate, require attendance of witnesses, the power to examine witnesses, the power to search and the power to seize and all other powers necessary for investigation, except the power to arrest. The source of these powers of investigation will be this order passed by this Court,” said the bench.
It directed the BCCI, Srinivasan and the cricket players will co-operate with the investigation in all respects. “In case of any difficulty, the Justice Mudgal Committee may apply to this Court for necessary orders for the purpose of completing the investigation,” added the bench.
Asking the panel to maintain absolute confidentiality during the probe, the court asked it to submit the report by the end of August and fixed the matter for hearing in September. It noted that various issues relating to the IPL corruption saga can be decided only after the investigation is complete on these aspects as well.
“In the meanwhile, Sunil Gavaskar and Shivlal Yadav will continue to exercise the powers of the President of the BCCI, as per the order dated March 28 of this Court,” it said. While Gavaskar has to head the BCCI for IPL-related matters, Yadav is the interim President for all other matters of the cricketing body.
The BCCI had objected to bringing back the Mudgal panel for further investigation, contending that the panel’s indictment of Srinivasan and Indian captain M S Dhoni over an alleged cover-up in the IPL corruption case “had no basis” and was “erroneous.” It had also alleged that the “motivated” accusations in the confidential report were only by former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi.
Both the BCCI and Srinivasan had also sought his reinstatement in case the SC finally decides to hand over the further probe to the Mudgal panel and not the one proposed by the BCCI. BCCI had suggested the names of India all-rounder Ravi Shastri, former Calcutta High Court chief justice J N Patel and former CBI director R K Raghavan.