Justice R M Lodha has urged the Vinod Rai-headed Committee of Administrators (CoA) to probe alleged links between a bookie and a top Indian cricketer, as reported by The Indian Express Thursday, and bring it to the notice of the Supreme Court.
Justice Lodha, who presided over the BCCI’s radical overhaul, said the CoA should take the initiative and order an investigation at the soonest.
“The best thing now is for the Committee of Administrators, which is in charge of BCCI affairs, to immediately order an investigation into it. The CoA should now take initiative and take this issue to the logical conclusion. They already have an Anti-Corruption Unit. They have the power to probe this,” Justice Lodha told The Indian Express.
He added: “If for any reason they don’t do it, they should apply to the Supreme Court and get somebody appointed by the court to look into this. The CoA, by way of application or report, should bring this to the notice of the Supreme Court. The CoA regularly submits compliance reports (updates on the implementation of the Lodha reforms) to the Supreme Court and so they should inform the SC.”
Police officer B B Misra, the lead investigator of the 2013 IPL corruption probe, told The Indian Express how a top Indian cricketer was in touch with a known bookmaker during the 2008-09 season. The player was part of the 2011 World Cup-winning squad.
Justice Lodha reiterated that the player-bookie link exists and spot-fixing happens. “I have observed in my report also that match-fixing is not possible but spot-fixing is possible and it does happen. And there is a nexus between players and bookies and those who play these kinds of mischief,” he said.
Misra had said he couldn’t crack the case because he didn’t have time – he spoke to the bookie days before his deadline for submission of the report to the apex court – and it was not part of his charter. He investigated nine players but it was only the findings of his probe into officials which were made public and acted upon. “It was a phone conversation (between the player and the bookie) that was recorded. It would have taken a lot more time (beyond) October 31,” Misra told this paper.
The Lodha Committee was authorised by the apex court to look into the Misra report. But the Committee preferred to stick to the mandate of looking into the misconduct of the two IPL franchises, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, as that was their primary mandate.
“The Supreme Court did tell us that if the Lodha Committee wishes to have a look into it (Misra report) in the discharge of the mandate, they are authorised to do. But we did not think there was a need. Our mandate was to look at the misconduct of the two teams, CSK and Rajasthan Royals, and reforms. So we did not go into it,” Justice Lodha said.