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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

CoA to Supreme Court: Allow probe of nine players mentioned in sealed envelop

The Committee of Administrators, comprising Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji, have requested the apex court to hand the list to its anti-corruption unit to conduct a proper investigation.

Written by Devendra Pandey | Mumbai |
Updated: November 2, 2018 10:52:57 am
In a move that is likely to shake and stir Indian cricket, the CoA have stated that this will send a strong message and act as a deterrent.

Which nine Indian cricketers are named as suspected match and spot fixers in a sealed envelope that lies with the Supreme Court for the last four years? The Committee of Administrators, comprising Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji, have requested the apex court to hand the list to its anti-corruption unit to conduct a proper investigation. In a move that is likely to shake and stir Indian cricket, the CoA have stated that this will send a strong message and act as a deterrent.

In its report submitted to Supreme Court, as a reply to the writ petition filed by Atul Kumar, the COA has asked for investigation on the remaining nine persons named by the Justice Mudgal Committee in its 2014 report. There were 13 names in all but only four officials were named back then while the players remained unnamed.

Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra and Chennai Super Kings Team Principal Gurunath Meiyappan were handed life bans by the Justice Lodha Committee while then BCCI president N Srinivisan and IPL COO Sundar Raman were given clean chits.

In August 2015, the apex court had given Lodha committee the power to examine the names if it chooses. “The CoA suggests that necessary action (after further investigation, if required) should be taken against the remaining nine persons named by the Justice Mudgal Committee in the aforementioned report. For this purpose, the Honorable Supreme Court may consider handing over the remaining portion of the said report (which is kept in a sealed cover with the Honorable Supreme Court) to the ACU (Anti-Corruption Unit) for necessary action in conjunction with relevant authorities,” the CoA wrote.

In August, this year BB Misra, a lead investigator in the IPL corruption probe in 2013, had told The Indian Express that there was a suspected link between a top player with bookie but he could not take the probe to its logical conclusion because it was not part of his charter and he didn’t have enough time.

“I had to focus on the allegations against N Srinivasan (former BCCI president), Gurunath Meiyappan, Raj Kundra and Sundar Raman (former IPL COO). I think it was very focused and looked into these four. The allegations on the players (nine) were also looked into,” Misra had told this newspaper. “Enough allegations were made against the players. Nine players, not just one. We investigated both. Only thing is that the investigation related to the four officials has been made public,” he said.

Justice Mudgal committee probed 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal in which BCCI president N Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was held guilty of betting and passing on team information during the IPL matches. The panel had also recommended further probe against Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty, part-owners of Rajasthan Royals, besides suspending them from participating in any activity of the BCCI, including IPL matches, pending final determination of their role.

ACU must report to Ombudsman

COA feels the BCCI’s new constitution does not contain any specific provision related to the ACU and its reporting structure. In order to ensure that the members of the ACU are able to function independently, the CoA is of the view that the Head/Director of the ACU should report to the Ombudsman (instead of the Apex Council and/or the President). “Accordingly, the reports of the investigations conducted by the ACU should be submitted to the Ombudsman instead of the BCCI for further action to insure independence. Apart from ensuring independence in the function of the ACU, this will also provide the Ombudsman with an effective investigation/inquiry wing for carrying out his/her functions under the BCCI constitution,” the report reads.

During Srinivasan’s tenure as BCCI chief, former top cop Ravi Sawani was reporting to him. Sawani was given charge of probing fixing allegations on Meiyappan and Kundra along with Rajasthan Royals cricketers S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan, Ajit Chandila, Siddharth Trivedi and Harmeet Singh. Though the board punished cricketers, it gave a clean chit to its IPL owner citing they couldn’t get any evidence from Mumbai Police. The COA also wants criminalization of corrupt activities in cricket as BCCI has jurisdiction over players, match officials but it is powerless to act against the persons who may be involved in corrupt activities.

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