Bombay High Court Calls BCCI Spot-Fixing Probe Panel 'Illegal And Unconstitutional'
In a severe blow to the Board of Control for Cricket in India and its president-in-exile N. Srinivasan, the Bombay High Court held as "illegal and unconstitutional" the two-member probe panel set up by it to look into spot-fixing and betting charges in the Indian Premier League tournament, according to the PTI. The High Court order "comes just two days after the probe panel submitted its report on July 28" giving a clean chit to Srinivasan, his son-in-law and Chennai Super Kings Owner Gurunath Meiyappan and Rajasthan Royals Owner Raj Kundra and husband of actress Shilpa Shetty. The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Cricket Association of Bihar and its secretary Aditya Verma "challenging the constitution of the two-member commission." Verma said the constitution of the probe panel was "illegal and unconstitutional." Advocate Amit Naik said, "We have succeeded and the court has accepted our contentions. It is now up to the BCCI to see what is to be done next" (PTI, 7/30). The AP reported the Bombay High Court said, "The entire incident needs to be reinvestigated. There was disparity in the evidence collected by the probe panel." The order "effectively strikes down the panel's report clearing" Meiyappan and Kundra (AP, 7/30).
NO COMMENT: The PTI reported Srinivasan refused to comment on the Bombay High Court order declaring the Board's two-member probe panel "illegal and unconstitutional" (PTI, 7/30). The PTI also reported a defiant Srinivasan "made it clear that he will attend the BCCI's Working Committee meeting" on Aug. 2 despite the Bombay High Court ruling. When specifically asked in which capacity he will be attending the meeting, Srinivasan said, "Come there and see for yourself as to what capacity I will be attending the meeting." Srinivasan "took an aggressive stance when asked about the ruling of the Bombay High Court on the probe panel which was formed to inquire into the IPL spot-fixing scandal." Srinivasan: "I don't know why you people are making a big issue. A writ was filed and the court has given its verdict. The matter finishes there. I have no further comments to make on this issue" (PTI, 7/30).
THE NEXT STEP: The PTI reported "rattled by the Bombay High Court order," the Board's top officials were on Tuesday "engaged in hectic discussions to chalk out the future course of action." BCCI interim CEO Jagmohan Dalmiya said, "We will wait for the judgement to come into our hands before deciding our next step." Moments after the High Court order came out, "the BCCI's top officials started consultations on the implications of the development as a crucial IPL Governing Council and the Board's working committee meeting is scheduled" on Aug. 2 (PTI, 7/30). In a seperate story, the PTI reported that former BCCI secretary Jaywant Lele applauded the Bombay High Court's order, calling the Indian Cricket Board's internal enquiry panel an "eyewash." Lele: "Bombay High Court has taken a very correct decision. According to me also this (BCCI's internal enquiry) was an eyewash. The judges appointed in the two-member committee were the people of N. Srinivasan" (PTI, 7/30).