New Delhi: A Pandora's Box looks set to be opened on February 10 when former Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mukul Mudgal, submits his report on the Indian Premier League spot-fixing scandal to the Supreme Court.
The timing of the submission is interesting, since it is just two days before the auction for the seventh edition of the IPL. Sources close to the commission say two-time IPL champions Chennai Super Kings are in deep trouble, with the three-member panel — consisting of Mudgal, Nilay Datta and N. Nageswara Rao — possibly recommending a ban on the franchise.
With the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) focusing solely on ensuring a gala auction on February 12, the date of submission of the report could throw that into complete jeopardy.
If indeed the report comes down heavily on CSK, it will further tarnish the image of the cash-rich league and will also be a big blow for fans of the M.S. Dhoni-led side.
Mudgal has time and again challenged the Board and its dubious methods and, moments after being appointed by the Supreme Court on October 7, had sounded the warning bell as he had said the BCCI wouldn’t have been too keen on having him on the panel. So, if Mudgal comes through on his promise of the probe not being ‘an eyewash’, things don’t look rosy for chief N. Srinivasan — also the MD & CEO of India Cements, the company that owns CSK.
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Speaking to MAIL TODAY, a satisfied Mudgal confirmed that the BCCI — not really on the same page as the sport-loving ex-judge on most issues — has been cooperative and the whole process of investigation is on its final lap.
“We are going to submit the report on February 10 as we were given a four-month time period to inquire into the whole issue. While I can’t reveal anything regarding the report that is set to be submitted to the Apex court, I can say that the BCCI has been really cooperative in the whole procedure,” he said.
Asked to elaborate on his idea that legalising betting could help sports avoid such incidents like fixing in IPL-VI, Mudgal said: “I don’t think this is the appropriate time to talk about these things, we can talk on this post February 10.”
Sources close to the panel said it was ready to go to any extent to get to the bottom of the whole issue and those guilty should get ready to face the consequences.
“To be fair, someone like Mudgal isn’t involved in the daily running of the BCCI, nor is he completely aware of the way cricketers function in their day-to-day life. So the committee got in touch with senior cricket journalists in the country to get their perspective and then spoke to the senior present and former officials of the BCCI like Arun Jaitley and Rajeev Shukla, among others. The fairness of the process can be gauged by the fact that the commission invited Lalit Modi’s lawyer Mehmood Abdi, despite knowing Modi’s sour relations with BCCI bosses."
“It must be noted that while president N. Srinivasan was really cooperative, Gurunath Meiyappan didn’t do his case any good by handing a letter to the committee, exercising his right to remain silent. This makes his case more complex as the committee has the right to pass judgment on the basis of information they have received from other quarters — not a very smart thing to do,” a source told MAIL TODAY. “The committee has tried to gather as much information and data as possible — from every quarter — to make sure that no mistake is made when they pass their observations to the Supreme Court and those guilty have a reason to fear.”
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