IPL fixing: ‘Nauseating’ Srinivasan must step down for fair probe: SC

IPL fixing: ‘Nauseating’ Srinivasan must step down for fair probe: SC

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday told N Srinivasan to step down as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief to enable free and fair probe in the betting and spot-fixing scandal involving his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan and some cricketers.
After going through the contents of a report filed in a sealed cover by apex court-appointed probe panel into the scandal, a bench headed by justice AK Patnaik said there are “very very serious” allegations made in the report.
“In our opinion, Srinivasan has to step down if proper probe is to be done in the case. We don’t like to damage people’s reputation but unless the BCCI president steps down, no fair investigation can be done,” the bench said.
“Why is he sticking to the chair. It is nauseating,” it said.
“If you would not step down, we will pass the verdict,” an enraged bench said.
It said that the contents of the report, which also raised suspicion on the role of six India-capped players in IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal, cannot be revealed in open court and asked BCCI counsel to go through certain paragraphs of it.
“See and go through the report to get to know the seriousness of the allegations but not as an advocate of Srinivasan or BCCI,” the bench said.
It said the gist of the report is such that the allegations have to be probed and asked the BCCI counsel to take instructions.
It posted the case for hearing on March 27.
During the hearing, BCCI pleaded before the court not to disclose the contents and names of players mentioned in the report.
Srinivasan refused to comment on the issue saying he is yet to read the observations made by the apex court.
Meiyappan was found guilty of match-fixing and betting during Indian Premier League 2013 by the apex court-appointed committee, headed by former Punjab and Haryana chief justice Mukul Mudgal, probing corruption charges against team owners of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals.
“The role of Gurunath Meiyappan in CSK as the team official stands proved and the allegations of betting and passing of information against Meiyappan stand proved,” the committee’s report had said.
It, however, said allegations of fixing against Meiyappan require further investigation and also left it to the Supreme Court the issue of conflict of interest against Srinivasan, who heads India Cements that owns CSK.
It also comprised of additional solicitor general N Nageswara Rao and Assam Cricket Association member Nilay Dutta.
The over 100-page report went into various issues like suspected involvement of six India-capped players in fixing, betting allegations against Rajasthan Royals owners and the need to bring discipline in players.
The three-member committee had named in its report six prominent “Indian capped” players, including one who is part of the current team.
Under the Franchise Agreement and IPL’s anti-corruption code, CSK runs the risk of facing disciplinary action including ban for the acts of Meiyappan, who was its Team Principal, for bringing the game into disrepute.
“The committee is of the view that the material on record clearly indicates that Meiyappan was the face of CSK and the team official of CSK,” the report had said rejecting Srinivasan’s contention that he was merely a cricket enthusiast.
The Board had earlier said that “speculative and baseless” charges against leading cricketers have been made by “unscrupulous” news channels and the apex court must pass an order to prevent any further damage to the image and reputation of “innocent” cricketers.
The court had appointed the panel on October 8 last year to investigate the scandal that rocked the popular Twenty20 tournament run by the BCCI.
PTI