The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed N Srinivasan to resume charge as president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India while setting up special panel to probe the spot-fixing scandal that rocked the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League.
"Srinivasan can take over as BCCI president," said AK Patnaik, one of the two judges who heard the case.
"But we have also formed a new probe panel to investigate the case," he added.
The three-member probe panel will be headed by Mukul Mudgal, former chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana high court.
Justice Mudgal headed the committee which made the draft recommendations for the National Sports Development Bill. The thrust of his recommendations was cleaning up sports administration. The Bill bars persons charge-sheeted from contesting an election and wants the BCCI to be answerable under the transparency Act.
Some of Justice Mudgal's judgments include the Ajay Jadeja vs BCCI 95 (2002) DLT 14 case, holding that the Board of Cricket Control of India in so far as its functions affect public interest is amenable to the writ jurisdiction of the high court. He also analyzed the judgments of several countries in respect of sports litigation in the said judgment.
The apex court, while asking the panel to investigate charges against Gurunath Meiyappan and owners of Rajasthan Royals, including Raj Kundra, to submit its inquiry report within four months, directed the BCCI and Srinivasan, whose company India Cements owns IPL team Chennai Super Kings, not to influence or interfere with the investigation and cooperate by providing all information.
The bench of Justices A K Patnaik and J S Kehar also named senior advocate and Additional Solicitor General N Nageshwar Rao and Assam Cricket Association member Nilay Dutta as others on the panel.
It turned down the plea of the Cricket Association of Bihar, which filed the petition against the BCCI and Srinivasan, that he should not be allowed to take charge till completion of the probe.
It also clarified that its earlier order in no way cast any doubt and aspersion on the members of the panel that was appointed by the BCCI to inquire into the controversy and gave a clean chit to Meiyappan.
The bench also said that new committee will probe all allegations levelled by the CAB in its petition on betting and spot-fixing in IPL matches and submit its report to the apex court, which will consider it and pass an order on the basis of the findings.
Srinivasan, who will be back at the helm after almost four months, had stepped aside after his son-in-law Meiyappan was arrested in connection with the spot-fixing scandal. He was later restrained by the apex court from taking charge after being re-elected as president at the Board’s recent Annual General Meeting.
On Monday, the bench turned down the BCCI's proposal for setting up a Special Purpose Committee (SPC) comprising senior politician Arun Jaitley and Dutta to look into the issue.
It also turned down the BCCI's plea that the proposed panel should find out if a further probe is required into the issues mentioned in the charge sheet filed by the Mumbai police in the scandal.
The court was hearing cross appeals filed by the BCCI and Cricket Association of Bihar challenging the Bombay high court's order, which declared the BCCI's probe panel in the scandal illegal.
The apex court had, on August 30, heard the petition filed by Aditya Verma, secretary CAB, challenging the high court's order refusing to appoint a fresh committee to probe the scam.
CAB had pleaded that when the high court declared the panel of two judges as unconstitutional, it should have appointed a fresh committee to look into the issue.
The Supreme Court had issued notices to Srinivasan, India Cements, Rajasthan Royals on the plea.
The high court order on July 30, came just two days after the panel comprising two former judges of the Madras high court, T Jayarama Chouta and R Balasubramanian, submitted its report giving a clean chit to all those against whom the probe was conducted.
The panel was set up by the BCCI and IPL Governing Council after the betting and spot-fixing scandal surfaced. It looked into the charges against India Cements Ltd, Meiyappan and Raj Kundra, co-owner of Rajasthan Royals.
Image: N Srinivasan