[For Representational Uses Only] There are more storm clouds brewing. (Getty Images)
Six prominent "Indian capped" players, including one who is part of the current team, are likely to face the heat for their alleged roles in fixing scandal with their names cropping up in the report filed on Monday before the Supreme Court by the Justice Mukul Mudgal committee probing the Indian Premier League (IPL) betting and spot-fixing scam.
In its report, the three-member committee - headed by former Punjab and Haryana Chief Justice Mudgal, said that former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president I.S. Bindra had also stated that he knew two former reputed Indian players who were allegedly involved in match-fixing.
The Justice Mudgal panel hasn’t named the players whose roles are being probed; they have been given to the apex court in a sealed cover, that will be opened on March 7.
An India Today news article states that according to a report submitted to Justice Mudgal by G Sampath Kumar (SP, Railways, Trichy), Kumar had carried out an investigation as SP, Crime Branch CID (internal security) and came in touch with bookies when investigating a fake passport case in 2013. He had submitted the report to Justice Mudgal and top cricketers like MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina's names came up in the report.
The Justice Mudgal panel report said that a journalist, who was apparently connected with recording of tapes for a sports magazine, could identify the voice of the Indian player and he had also stated that the player was part of the team which played the World Cup and is a member of the team currently.
"The journalist refused to disclose the names of the Indian players involved. In spite of repeated requests to put the name of the said player in a sealed cover for perusal before the Supreme Court, the journalist appeared terrified and was very reluctant to do so and pleaded that it would be dangerous for the journalist concerned," it said.
"It thus appears that names of six prominent Indian capped players are available in tapes in connection with dealings with bookies while two of these prominent Indian capped players have also been named by none other than a former president of BCCI," the report said.
The report, filed before a bench headed by justices A.K. Patnaik, also referred to the transcripts of the tapped conversation between two alleged bookies, Chandresh Jain and Ashwani Aggarwal, in which there are "references to high level fixing of players where the names of two international Indian players were mentioned”.
The Justice Mudgal report also said the whole episode demonstrated “disturbing links” between players, administrators, and politicians with underworld dons like Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel.
The panel slammed the Mumbai Police for being reluctant to investigate the involvement of Dawood. It also questioned why Pakistan umpire Asad Rauf was allowed to leave the country despite the proof of his involvement in spot-fixing.
“The whole episode reflects disturbing linkages between players/ administrators/politicians and declared terrorists and the underworld. The issues also throw light for the need of a thorough professional approach on the part of the investigative agencies to these disturbing linkages which evidently indicate a serious threat to national security,” said the report.
On Monday, the Justice Mudgal report said that BCCI president N Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was guilty of illegal betting on games. After an extensive probe, the three-member panel also said allegations of match-fixing against Meiyappan during IPL-6 required further investigation. The panel suggested that Meiyappan may have passed on information to outsiders for betting during the Twenty20 competition.
The probe was separate from investigations by police, who have filed charges in court against a string of officials, players and bookmakers for illegal betting during the tournament.
Meiyappan has been charged by Mumbai police with forgery, cheating, criminal conspiracy, breach of contract and handing critical team information to alleged bookmakers.
The panel spent four months interacting with players, IPL team owners, the police, journalists, anti-corruption unit personnel and various other stakeholders.