BCCI probe panel illegal: Bombay High Court

Mumbai, July 30 (IANS) In a major setback to the Indian cricket board, the Bombay High Court Tuesday termed as illegal its committee probing the IPL-6 match- and spot-fixing scam.

The court also questioned the appointment of the two-member panel comprising retired Tamil Nadu High Court judges T. Jayaram Chouta and R. Balasubramanian. The panel had absolved IPL franchisees Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings of spot-fixing charges, besides bigwigs Raj Kundra and Gurunath Meiyappan, who are associated with the two teams.

The BCCI had earlier suspended Meiyappan, son-in-law of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president N. Srinivasan, and Kundra and asked judges Chouta and Balasubramanian to conduct an internal investigation.

"The entire matter needs to be re-investigated. There was disparity in the evidence collected by the probe panel," the high court said in a public interest writ petition filed by Naresh Matani challenging the panel's constitution.

The high court also questioned how the BCCI itself could conduct a probe into the match- and spot-fixing scam and ordered the setting up of a new committee.

Tuesday's development came two days after the two-member BCCI-appointed committee gave a clean chit to Meiyappan and Kundra while accusing Mumbai police of not co-operating in the probe.

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

However, Mumbai police Monday dismissed the allegations and said that it did not send its investigating officer on grounds of legal issues.

In fact, police sought to know under what legal provisions could its investigating officer depose before a private panel since as per laws, police can only give its deposition before a court of law.

The investigating officer was required to go to a Bangalore hotel and depose before the two-member panel at the BCCI's expense.

However, Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy observed that if the BCCI panel had requested the probe details, police could have considered sharing details which would not hamper the investigations.

The IPL-6 scam, which was exposed in mid-May, has seen Mumbai police arresting 19 people, including Bollywood actor Vindoo Dara Singh Randhawa, cricketers and bookies. In addition, Delhi Police has arrested 29 people, including former India player S. Sreesanth, who turned out for Rajasthan Royals.


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