Just after few days when Madras High Court restrained the media houses to publish defamatory and malicious reports linking Indian skipper MS Dhoni to bookies in the scandal of Indian Premier League (IPL) betting, the Supreme Court today asked BCCI president N Srinivasan to step down from the post to ensure a fair probe in the betting and match-fixing scandal in IPL.
It all began in May 2013 when three players of Rajisthan Royals’ team S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila including several were arrested by Mumbai and Delhi police for alleged involvement in betting and match-fixing during IPL matches. Later on 25th May Gurunath Mayappan son-in-law of N Srinivasan was arrested after one of the accused actor Vindo Dara Singh implicated him in betting. It raised the questions over N Srinivasan too and pressure was built up over Srinivasan to step down. But refusing to step down from the post of BCCI president, BCCI formed a two member inquiry panel of retired judges to investigate alleged involvement of Gurunath Mayappan in IPL betting and match-fixing scandal. The commission did not find any evidence of wrongdoings on Gurunath Mayappan and Raj Kundra co-owner of Rajisthan Royals.
Raising doubts over the probe done by inquiry commission formed by BCCI, Cricket Association of Bihar secretary Aditya Veram filed a PIL in Bombay High Court against the probe panel. High Court declared BCCI’s probe panel “illegal”. BCCI and the Bihar association filed petitions in Supreme Court against High Court’s order.
In October 2013, Supreme Court appointed a probe committee to be headed by retired judge Justice Mukul Mudgal. The panel also include Additional Solicitor General L. Nageswara Rao and Nilay Dutta. Supreme Court gave four months to submit the report. During this Gurunath accepted his involvement in betting before Mumbai Police. On February 2014, the Mudgal committee submitted two reports. One signed by Justice Mukul Mudgal and N. Nageswara Rao in which they asked court to decide further course of action because the committee did not have power to impose punishment.
Another supplementary report was submitted by Nilay Dutta, a vice-president of Assam Cricket Association and a member of IPL Governing Council and said that the report should not be misinterpreted and the report does not suggest that the Hon’ble Court would decide the punishment or penalty. The Mudgal committee also submitted a sealed envelope that contains sensitive information related to some of the top Indian players. After the submission of Mudgal committee report, BCCI in its response requested Supreme Court not to reveal the information of the sealed envelope.
Now in response to Mudgal committee report, Supreme Court has asked BCCI president N. Sriniwasan to step down as BCCI president so that a fair probe will take place. Justice AK Patnaik in the course of the hearing on the report of Justice Mudgal said, “In our opinion, Srinivasan has to step down for a fair investigation into the allegations of betting.” Just few months before IPL’s 7th edition to begin, Supreme Court’s order is a major blow for Srinivasan. Srinivasan did not comment over the order. The next hearing will be on 27th March.