The Indian Premier League (IPL) faced serious questions on Monday after a panel probing malpractices in the tournament indicted BCCI president-in-exile N Srinivasan for inaction and said officials from two top teams were involved in illegal betting.
In its final report submitted to the Supreme Court, the panel headed by retired judge Mukul Mudgal blamed Srinivasan for not acting against a cricketer violating the code of conduct during an IPL tournament. But it said he himself was never involved in match-fixing nor did he try to scuttle the probe into the scandal.
It also said that the IPL’s chief operating officer, Sundar Raman, had admitted knowing that Gurunath Meiyappan of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Raj Kundra of Rajasthan Royals (RR) were involved in betting but did nothing about it, which means he could lose his job if he cannot furnish a proper explanation.
Although the portions of the report deal with four officials – the Supreme Court had decided on Friday to hold back findings on players until further notice – two unnamed persons find mention in the report.
The report says Meiyappan was in close touch with ‘individual 2’ – each of the 13 players and officials probed by the panel have been given numbers – and frequently met him in his hotel room. Meiyappan, son-in-law of sidelined BCCI chief, Srinivasan, is ‘individual 1’.
The report also points to a player – mentioned as individual 3. That it is a player becomes clear as the report states that Srinivasan (individual 13) as well as four other BCCI officials were ‘aware of the violation of the Players Code of Conduct by individual 3, but no action was taken…’
With the report saying that Srinivasan did not act on rule violations by individual 3, it raises the question who, and how important the player could be, and what role he could have played.
The apex court will receive responses from Srinivasan, Meiyappan, Kundra and Raman – the four named so far – to the findings in the Mudgal report, which is expected to be taken up at its next hearing on November 24.
The court decided not to reveal the identity of players mentioned in the report to protect their privacy. The report has not mentioned what was the nature of rule violation by individual 3.
Strictly, only six names are still to come out in the public domain. Besides the four officials, the names of three players were inadvertently mentioned but the court then directed the media not to report the names.
The Mudgal Committee had also examined some star cricketers. It had also questioned at length Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s friend and manager, Arun Pandey, who quit his Air India job last year.
How the court views the replies of the four officials is likely to influence any decision to make public the names of the players mentioned in the report.