Former Board of Control for Cricket in India chief Sharad Pawar wants Justice J N Patel, who is part of its three-man probe panel to investigate the IPL corruption scandal, to come clean on his reported links with the body's interim president, Shivlal Yadav.
He also deprecated the presence of former India captain Ravi Shastri on the inquiry committee, citing conflict of interest.
"I think Patel should definitely disclose if he is related to the BCCI's interim president, Shivlal Yadav. If not, then BCCI should clarify and not allow these type of discussions," Pawar said.
The names of the former Chief Justice of the Calcutta high court, Shastri and ex-CBI director R K Raghavan were approved at an emergent working committee meeting of the BCCI in Mumbai on Sunday. They will be submitted for approval by the Supreme Court, which is hearing the IPL scandal. The next hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
The Supreme Court had directed the BCCI at the last hearing, on April 16, to suggest names of persons to conduct a "fair probe" into the IPL-6 spot-fixing and betting scandal.
The apex court is expected to consider the BCCI's suggestion and pass orders on the future course of the probe.
"I don't know him (Patel) personally, but I think it is his duty to disclose if this news (information) is correct," Pawar said.
"This morning I got a call from some BCCI member that there is a judge, J N Patel. I know he was a very upright judge when he was here. He had taken very tough responsibilities and had performed very well.
"But the issue which I was not aware of. Somebody rang me up from Andhra Pradesh this morning, saying the BCCI's interim president Shivlal Yadav and Patel are close relatives. Brother-in-law or something like that. I don't know.
"If the news is correct, then the people will judge. Generally, I have seen many times (that) a judge, if there is some lawyer who is close to him is there, will immediately recuse himself from the case," Pawar said.
"I am sure that knowing fully well Justice Patel's reputation, he will not allow this type of a thing," he added.
Pawar, a former president of the International Cricket Council, also questioned Shastri’s eligibility as a member of the probe panel because of the conflict of interest issue, as the player-turned-commentator has got a financial contract with BCCI.
"Ravi Shastri is a good player. In fact, when I was BCCI chief (2005-08), we signed a contract with him and Sunil Gavaskar. So, he had a financial contract with BCCI. Now, someone says how can a person who has got a financial contract with BCCI become part of an inquiry committee of BCCI chief?"
"I have no reservation about Shastri's integrity, his honesty. But definitely, anybody can raise the issue. And that is why a sensible person will try to keep away from this (probe panel)."
Asked if Shastri should dissociate himself, Pawar said, "He has a financial contract (with BCCI). That is not the case with Patel."
On allegations against former IPL chief Lalit Modi and embattled BCCI chief N Srinivasan, who has been ordered by the Supreme Court to step aside when the IPL probe is on, Pawar said, "I don't think Modi has done any harm. Unfortunately, about Srinivasan, I haven't got any details. But whatever action has been taken recently was essentially taken by judiciary.
"It was the Supreme Court which said that 'A' should not be there and that 'B' should be there. There were certain complaints and judiciary felt that these complaints should be investigated," Pawar said.
Pawar talked in glowing terms about Srinivasan's predecessor, Shashank Manohar, who was once part of the NCP chief's core team which overthrew Jagmohan Dalmiya from the BCCI.
"Manohar is a good administrator. He has no personal interest. His genuine interest is in the game. I accept that whatever he says will always be in the interest of the game. Manohar's performance as an administrator was in a very straight forward and transparent manner," he said.
Though bedeviled with myriad problems since its inception in 2008, when he was the BCCI chief, Pawar was upbeat about the future of the cash-rich IPL.
“I think IPL is doing well. I have not been able to follow it because of these elections. IPL is a product developed by India, by the BCCI when I was its president," Pawar said.
"IPL has been accepted by the global cricketing community and all cricketing countries are part of IPL, which is watched not only in India but outside too," he said, adding, "This is the great contribution of Indian cricket and BCCI."
Image: Sharad Pawar