The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the BCCI’s plea to reinstate its ousted president N Srinivasan, saying he would have to wait for a clean chit from the IPL 2013 corruption probe panel, headed by Justice Mukul Mudgal. A bench of Justices TS Thakur and FMI Kalifulla gave the Mudgal panel a two-month extension to complete its investigations and submit a final report, while also expressing its displeasure at the pace of the probe.
Fixing the matter for further hearing on November 10, the bench however gave the panel liberty to file any interim report on the alleged role of Srinivasan or any other office bearer who are under its scrutiny. This may enable the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s Annual General Meeting to take place as per schedule.
During the hearing, the bench turned down BCCI’s plea that Srinivasan should be allowed to discharge his function as the AGM is expected to take place at the end of this month and his signature is needed for clearing the annual account of the board.
“Signing a book of account is not a ground. This cannot be a ground for reinstatement,” said the bench, while also telling the Mudgal panel that the probe against him and 12 other players in the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal cannot go on indefinitely
At the outset of proceedings, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Srinivasan, pleaded the court to reveal whether there was anything against him in Mudgal panel’s interim report so that he could resume the charge of the BCCI president if nothing had been found against him. The bench said that no comments have been made against Srinivasan in the report but the probe was still on and hence he could not be allowed to function as for now.
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It said that the committee has sought more time since it wanted to record statements of some players who are on England tour and also voice samples of some people needed to be matched.
“We saw the report. Two months time for completion of probe does not seem realistic. The way in which it is going on, it will take five years. It’s going to be a tough task for the Committee,” the bench said, asking it to expedite the probe.
Tasked to probe allegations of spot-fixing and illegal betting in the Indian Premier League, Mudgal panel had submitted its interim report in the Supreme Court on August 29. While deciding to keep N Srinivasan out of the BCCI’s affairs, the court had in May 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.
Thirteen people had been named by the panel, headed by Justice (retd) Mudgal, in its confidential report. 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, the court had said that further investigation should not be conducted by any new panel.