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SC suggests Mudgal Committee decide extent of punishment

IANS 27 Nov 2014, 20:55:41 PM IST
IANS

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday suggested that the Mudgal Committee, that probed the allegation of betting and match fixing in IPL 2013 decide on the nature of punishment for Gurunath Meiyappan and others named on its report in accordance with the BCCI's rules and regulations, including the anti-corruption code.

Senior counsel C.A. Sundaram, appearing for the BCCI, agreed with the suggestion. He earlier had requested the court to decide on an external commission to determine the extent of punishment so that there is transparency about the verdict.

"Let the Mudgal Committee be asked to take action and let there be a logical conclusion of the issue. Let them discharge the function of imposing penalty", said an apex court bench of Justice T.S.Thakur and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla.

"Now that the report has come we can ask the BCCI to take a decision in 10 days," the bench said.

As Sundaram told the court that "we (BCCI) will give them a hearing", the court said that stage for a hearing is over now that the court has the Mudgal Committee report.

"Why don't you take action? Why should we take action? We will see the correctness of the decision (taken by the BCCI). We will give you an opportunity to take a call."

If we decided the action on the Mudgal Committee report this would amount to "clutching the powers of the BCCI".

The court said it had reservations on allowing the present BCCI office bearers to determine punitive action against Meiyappan and others on the basis of the Mudgal Committee report.

The court said that the present BCCI committee had outlived its utility as its term had already come to an end.

The court also said that "all those who are involved in the matter stand aside", dealing a blow to Srinivasan's hopes of standing in the election.

"There must be fresh election and fresh blood in the cricketing body that can look into the (Mudgal) report and act", the court said.

It was at this stage that Sundaram told the court: "Let the court decide on an external commission and decide the matter so that there would be no whispering on the verdict."

Then the court said Sundaramn should ask the Mudgal Committee to also determine the nature of punishment based on its report.

Supporting the suggestion of the court that all those involved in this matter should stand aside, senior counsel Nalini Chidambaram appearing for the petitioner Cricket Association of Bihar, told the court to keep Srinivasan out of BCCI.

"On the basis of principle Srinivasan should not contest the elections" Chidambram said to the court.

Telling the court that she would address the issue on the larger question of purity, probity and public policy, Chidambram told the court that failure of Srinivasan to act on the information of betting also brought him into the ambit of the operational rules of the anti-corruption code of the apex body of cricket in the country.

Chidambram said that the first Mudgal Committee report inferred that Srinivasan orchestrated a cover-up of the incident, which started with the appointment of two member panel (Justice T. Jayarama Chouta and Justice R. Balasubramanian). The panel gave a clean chit after inferring on a half-hearted presentation of the matter to them by the BCCI.

At this senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for Srinivasan, said, "There is no other intent but to stop Srinivasan from contesting elections. Counsel Harish Salve, representing CAB, demanded the IPL franchise of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) should be cancelled.

"India Cement Limited - the owner of Chennai Super Kings - is ultimately responsible for the conduct of Gurunath Meiyappan. The owner of CSK is a corporate entity and its vice-chairman and managing director Srinivasan is responsible", Salve told the court saying that Meiyappan by his acts of betting has brought disrepute to the game.

Earlier, in the hearing, the court sought the details of the management structure of India Cements as it noted that Srinivasan was the vice-Chairman cum managing director and his daughter and wife of Meiyappan, Rupa Gurunath, was on the board of directors.

"You may not be an obvious owner of the company but you may be actual controller of the company", the court said, adding: "the process of selecting captain and coach of the team is not directly decided by Meiyappan but directed by his wife based on his inputs."

The hearing on the matter will continue Dec 1.