Refuting the Mudgal probe panel’s charge that no action was taken against an Indian cricket team player found guilty of violating code of conduct, the BCCI and its ousted chief N Srinivasan told SC Friday that the player was orally reprimanded as per rules, but the infraction was neither related to the IPL nor involved betting or fixing.
While Srinivasan sought his re-instatement as the BCCI chief stating there was “absolutely nothing” in the Mudgal report to incriminate him, the cricketing body said the panel was “incorrect” in indicting him and other officials for not taking actions.
BCCI maintained the violation was “minor” and it took place at a time when Shashank Manohar, not Srinivasan, was the president, and Ranjib Biswal the manager. It attached with its reply a separate affidavit by Biswal, who concurred that the incident had happened during his tenure as the Indian team manager and that he had brought the violation to the notice of the then president, Manohar. Manohar asked him to call the concerned player and orally reprimand him in accordance with the BCCI rules. Keeping in view the nature of the allegations, the bonafide explanation offered by the player and also as to his age and antecedents, Biswal had reprimanded the player and sent a report to Manohar.
Srinivasan, who was at that time the honarary secretary of the BCCI said he had no role in the entire episode since the president had never instructed him to do anything on the issue and that he spoke to the said player, who had been duly warned.
He added that the incident involving the player was not related to the IPL and also not in betting, match-fixing or any corrupt activity. “I may draw the attention of this court to the undertaking given by me and recorded in the order dated March 28, 2014 that I will not discharge my duties as BCCI president till the probe is concluded. There is no reason for me to continue to stay away from my elected position,” Srinivasan said. The court will hear the matter on Monday.
‘NO TRUTH, ONLY MALICE’
His affidavit added: “I have already lost close to the whole year of my elected term on the basis of wholly false and motivated charges. I pray that the honourable court discharge me from my undertaking and allow me resume my office and pass an appropriate order in this regard.”
The conclusions in the Mudgal report, Srinivasan said, vindicated his stand that all allegations of his involvement in the IPL corruption case were “false, baseless and motivated out of malice.”
India Cements has also filed its affidavit, stating any demand to cancel franchisee of Chennai Super Kings was “wholly misplaced” since Gurunath Meiyappan, Srinivasan’s son-in-law who has been accused of betting in IPL, could not be characterised as a person who is an owner, being the ultimate controller of the franchisee owner company. India Cements also said Mudgal panel did not disclose the reasons for its finding that Meiyappan was a team official, which according to the firm was incorrect. It said he was neither a shareholder nor a director or an employee of the company. Meiyappan had also not drawn any salary from the CSK.
“As per IPL a norms disfranchising can be done only if the company of the franchisee or the owner of the franchisee violates relevant clauses,” it said, adding cancellation of the CSK franchise will result in serious consequences as Chennai was the most popular team in IPL and its players enjoyed huge popularity.
India Cements said that since no adverse inferences have been drawn against the India Cements by the panel, its officials should now be allowed to discharge any duties if assigned by the BCCI. By March 28 order, SC has restrained India Cements officials to take up any role till the conclusion of the probe. Srinivasan is the MD of India Cements.
Raj Kundra, co-owner of IPL team Rajasthan Royals, in his affidavit, said that he was a respectable member of the society, who has co-operated with the probe panels. He opposed the findings of the Mudgal panel that had held him guilty of betting and he violated the IPL anti-corruption code, contending it had adversely affected his reputation and cast aspersions on his integrity. Kundra said the Mudgal report had “inherent flaws” and did not give the materials, on the basis of which he was indicted.
Emphasising on the requirement of the access to all such incriminating materials, Kundra said that even at the time of the first report by the Mudgal panel, he had opposed the findings and had maintained that he was willing to transfer beneficial ownership of his shareholdings in Rajasthan Royals until such time a clean chit is given to him.
Rajasthan Royals has also filed its affidavit, saying there was no ground to terminate its franchise. It said that Kundra indirectly held only about 11 per cent stakes in the controlling entity while the remaining was held by three bigger groups. It added that Kundra was not even among the initial promoters when the franchise was created in 2008 and that he joined as an “investor” only in 2009.
It also claimed that Kundra was not part of the management and he, directly or indirectly, never participated in bidding of players and the strategy adopted by the franchise for games. Meiyappan and IPL CEO Sundar Raman, who had also been issued notices, are expected to file their affidavits on Saturday.