SC reserves order on Mudgal probe panel

New Delhi: India’s Supreme Court has on Tuesday reserved the order on the constitution of the Justice Mukul Mudgal probe committee into allegations of betting and fixing that surfaced in IPL 6, following the BCCI’s opposition to the probe. The apex court was expected to expand the probe panel’s terms of reference, empowering it with investigative machinery of its choice as it continues investigations into allegations of betting and fixing that surfaced during IPL 6, but took a different course of action in today’s hearing.
The Mudgal Committee had earlier agreed to probe the IPL fixing scandal and has now requested the SC to grant them four months to complete their probe as well as the top court’s assistance in conducting the probe. The panel has also asked for retired special director of CBI ML Sharma to join the investigation.
The SC had last week deferred until April 29 a decision on the probe panel, which had earlier indicated that it did not have the investigative mechanism to go deeper.
The two-member bench comprising Justices AK Patnaik and Ibrahim Khalifulla is keen to protect the identity of 12 players and cricket officials, in addition to BCCI president in abeyance N Srinivasan, named in a sealed envelope given to the court by the panel as part of its report.
The BCCI’s proposed three-man panel comprising CBI director RK Raghavan, former Calcutta High Court chief Justice JN Patel and former India captain Ravi Shastri was rejected by the SC on April 22, following a challenge from petitioner and Bihar Cricket Association secretary Aditya Verma. The court had asked the Mudgal Committee to submit audio recordings of its proceedings while allowing the BCCI to listen to certain parts, but barring the board and Srinivasan from sharing the contents of the recordings. The case was then adjourned to April 29.
Earlier, Srinivasan pleaded before the SC that it must dismiss the Special Leave Petition and allow him to resume office. In a reply affidavit filed before the top court on April 15, Srinivasan said the circumstances were quite different now from the time he made an offer to the SC to step aside from his position until an independent investigation was completed.
In his affidavit, Srinivasan also denied telling the Mudgal Committee, appointed by the SC to look into allegations of betting and fixing during the 2013 IPL, that his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was a mere cricket enthusiast. He said that he never made any comment about Meiyappan’s role or the lack of it in the IPL franchise, Chennai Super Kings.