BCCI defends probe panel's findings

New Delhi/Mumbai, July 29 (IANS) Two senior officials of the Indian cricket board strongly defended the clean chit the two-member probe panel gave to Chennai Super Kings team principal Gurunath Meiyappan and Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra in the spot fixing and betting scandal in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Board vice-president Niranjan Shah and treasurer Ravi Sawant blamed the lack of co-operation from the Mumbai police, who had arrested Meiyappan, and the panel had to go by whatever information they could muster.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had earlier suspended both Meiyappan, son-in-law of Board president N. Srinivasan, and Kundra and asked former Tamil Nadu High Court judges T. Jayaram Chouta and R. Balasubramanian to conduct an internal investigation.

The panel's report, which was submitted to the Working Committee of the BCCI in Kolkata Sunday, gave a clean chit to the two, paving away for Srinivasan, who had stepped aside in June, to return as the BCCI president.

Shah surprisingly said the BCCI cannot depend on the police report.

"I think we can't depend on police report as we had already constituted a commission and whatever the commission said is final. I think BCCI can't do anything about it (on reports that Mumbai Police didn't co-operate with panel) as we have no control over it. So, we have to live with whatever material available to us," Shah told NDTV.

Shah, however, said if Meiyappan or Kundra, who was questioned by Delhi Police, are r found guilty then BCCI will take immediate action.

"If anyone is convicted, automatically the BCCI will take notice and step in to take necessary action. If there is any substantial thing coming out later on in courts of law or if they are charge-sheeted, then I think they will be out of the BCCI," Shah said.

A final decision will be taken Friday at the IPL Governing Council meeting in Delhi and Srinivasan is likely to chair the meeting.

Shah said since Meiyappan has been exonerated, Srinivasan can come back and chair the meeting.

"He himself has stepped aside and now as the probe is over and the report submitted to the working committee, Srinivasan can return to the board any time he wants to," Shah said.

Sawant said since nothing has been found against Meiyappan, Srinivasan can continue as the BCCI president.

"The decision of the BCCI working committee was that Srinivasan would sit out till the probe report is out. No evidence has been found against Gurunath Meiyappan, so Mr. Srinivasan will resume his post," Sawant told reporters in Mumbai.

Sawant also insisted that the Board should only go by the probe panel's report.

"No point waiting for the police to finish their investigation, we must act on the panel's report. And now that the probe is complete, it is only fair that Srinivasan must return as president," he said.

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