In what may spell more trouble for ousted BCCI president N Srinivasan, and others, the Mudgal probe panel made it clear to the Supreme Court on Monday that its first probe report was still relevant and that it had to be read along with the latest report.
On a query being made, senior advocate Raju Ramachandran told the court that the first report, which had indicated an alleged cover-up attempt by Srinivasan, was not to be brushed aside only on the ground that the panel has submitted a subsequent report.
“The first report dealt with the betting and the second is more comprehensive as it also deals with sport-fixing allegations. Both the reports are to be read together now,” Ramachandran, the panel’s counsel, told a bench of Justices T S Thakur and FMI Kalifulla.
The clarification came as Nalini Chidambaram, counsel for the Cricket Association of Bihar, started her arguments by reading out certain portions from the first report.
It assumes significance since the second report has held that Srinivasan was not involved in betting or fixing, nor he tried to scuttle the probe but the first report had inked certain embarrassing findings against Srinivasan.
In its first report that came out in February, the panel has held his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan guilty of betting and passing on team information during the IPL matches last year, while adding that the concerns about Srinivasan’s conflict of interest were “serious” and may have “large-scale ramifications on the functioning of cricket”.
The panel had also trashed the statements made before it by Srinivasan and India captain MS Dhoni that Meiyappan had nothing to do with the cricketing affairs of CSK and that he was just a “cricket enthusiast” supporting the team.
While holding Gurunath Meiyappan guilty of bringing disrepute to the game and CSK responsible for failing to check his actions, the panel brought to the notice of the court a possible conflict of interest, with Srinivasan being the BCCI president as well as the vice-chairman and managing director of India Cements, which owns CSK.
Phrase under question
On Monday, Chidambaram began her arguments by reading out this portion from the report, to which BCCI counsel CA Sundaram objected, saying the panel had erroneously recorded Srinivasan and Dhoni as describing Meiyappan as a mere “cricket enthusiast.”
Ramachandran accepted that the phrase was not used by Srinivasan and Dhoni and that it could have been an inference by the panel drawn by itself. He, however, maintained that the findings of this report were still pertinent and they had to be juxtaposed with the final report.
Buyoed by this, Chidambaram built her arguments regarding the alleged conflict of interest by Srinivasan and said that although the final report said he did not try to scuttle the probe by the Mudgal panel, the first report demonstrated that the ICC chief made an endeavour to scuttle the probe into the IPL-2013 scandal by doing a cover-up for his son-in-law. She said there were plethora of evidence on record to show that Meiyappan held the fort for Chennai Super Kings as a team official and that Srinivasan attempted to shield him.
She pointed how Meiyappan deposed before a two-member inquiry committee set up by the BCCI under the regime of his father-in-law but chose to stay away from Mudgal panel by claiming the police probe was already on and hence he would not testify before it. Chidambaram said she would rely on this report as she continues her arguments on Tuesday.
I am financing Verma’s petition: Lalit Modi
New Delhi: Suspended IPL commissioner Lalit Modi on Monday created a flutter by claiming that he was financing Aditya Verma’s petition against BCCI’s ousted president N Srinivasan and others in the IPL spot-fixing case. “I am financing the petition against Srinivasan and others. There’s no harm in backing anybody who helps me,” Modi said.”BCCI wants to sweep everything under the carpet,” he said.
Verma said: “Why only Modi, there could be 20 BCCI members who are funding me in my fight for justice. But how does it matter to the case? I don’t think the court is concerned about who is financing whom. Who knows, there might be several associations who would come out in open in the near future to support our cause. We are fighting this legal battle to clean-up Indian cricket.” (ENS/PTI)