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SC slams Srinivasan for conflict of interest in IPL, says it is serious issue

Last updated on: November 24, 2014 17:43 IST
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Narayanswami Srinivasan

Narayanaswami Srinivasan. Photograph: PTI

'You have to address question of conflict of interest as head of BCCI and also as owner of IPL team, whose official is found to be involved.

'The conflict of interest is a serious issue.

'IPL is a mutually beneficial society between IPL and BCCI,' Supreme Court tells Narayanaswami Srinivasan.

The Supreme Court on Monday slammed the Board of Control for Cricket in India over the spot-fixing scandal in the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League and also questioned the return of Narayanaswami Srinivasan as its president.

- Coverage: IPL spot-fixing saga

"BCCI must uphold glory of the game. If you allow these things to happen, then you are killing the game of cricket," the court said, as it took up the IPL betting report filed by the Justice Mudgal Committee.

It also came down hard on Srinivasan's conflict of interest over his return as BCCI president while being the owner of the Chennai Super Kings franchise.

The Mudgal panel found his son-in-law, Gurunath Meiyappan, guilty of betting during the IPL last year while being an official of Chennai Super Kings.

"You have to address question of conflict of interest as head of BCCI and also as owner of IPL team, whose official is found to be involved. The conflict of interest is a serious issue. IPL is a mutually beneficial society between IPL and BCCI.

"Benefit of doubt should go in favour of game rather than any individual," it said.

- Timeline: IPL spot-fixing scandal

It asked the BCCI to take action against the guilty saying, "You have no option but to act against the guilty. You are not doing a favour by acting against them."

The Supreme Court further claimed that it is wrong to assume that Srinivasan was given a clean chit.

"Don't assume that you have been given a clean chit. Don't go by the Mudgal panel conclusions alone."

The BCCI, however, requested the Supreme Court not to reveal the identities of the players till the probe is completed.

"Don't reveal names of players, it may jeopardise their careers," it appealed.

Last week Srinivasan was  cleared of match-fixing and scuttling the probe into it that followed the episode, but the findings of the  Mudgal Committee left Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals exposed, as their respective officials, Meiyappan and Raj Kundra, were indicted of illegal betting.

The three-member committee, in its report to the Supreme Court, however, indicted Srinivasan, who is also chairman of the International Cricket Council, for not taking action against an unnamed player for violating the Players’ Code of Conduct despite being aware of it.

The report, supplied to different parties in the case, only revealed the names of Meiyappan, Kundra,  IPL CEO Sundar Raman and Srinivasan. Those of other persons, including cricketers, were not disclosed as the per the apex court order.

It confirmed Meiyappan was a team official (team principal) of Chennai Super Kings while Rajasthan Royals’ owner Kundra's "infractions violated the BCCI/IPL Anti Corruption Code".

As such, the two franchises could be in trouble as a provision in the IPL Code of Conduct says a team can be scrapped if any team official is found guilty of "bringing the game into disrepute" by betting or match-fixing.

The Committee, headed by retired High Court Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal, with Additional Solicitor General L Nageshwar Rao and senior advocate Nilay Dutta as members, held that Meiyappan was involved in betting but not match-fixing.

It also questioned why the Rajasthan Police abruptly ended an investigation on Kundra for his betting activities after the case was transferred from the Delhi Police. Further, the Committee found that Raman knew about the contact of a bookie and was in touch him eight times in one season.

Indian cricket hit a new low last year after former India pacer Shantakumaran Sreesanth and his two other Rajasthan Royals colleagues -- Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila -- were found guilty of spot-fixing in IPL 6.

The Supreme Court appointed a three-member probe panel, led by retired Justice Mudgal, to investigate the betting and spot-fixing saga. The apex court-appointed panel replaced the BCCI's own two-man probe panel, which had exonerated Meiyappan of any wrongdoing following which its verdict was challenged in the courts.

The BCCI disciplinary committee banned Sreesanth and Chavan for life, while another Rajasthan player Siddharth Trivedi was barred for 12 months and his team mate Amit Singh for five years.

Chandila is the only one who has not received a sanction yet as he was the last of the players to get bail in the IPL spot-fixing case.

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