SC forms probe panel, lets Srinivasan work as BCCI chief

New Delhi, Oct 8 (IANS) The Supreme Court Tuesday appointed a three-member committee to investigate the allegations of spot-fixing and betting in the Indian Premier League (IPL), but lifted restraints it put on Narayanaswami Srinivasan from assuming charge as the elected chief of the Indian cricket board.

The apex court bench of Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice J.S. Kehar said the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and its president Srinivasan would completely keep off the probe panel, headed by former Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal, but will extend all the facilities required by the investigators.

The other two members of the probe panel, which has been asked to submit its report in four months, are senior counsel and Additional Solicitor General L. Nageshwar Rao and senior advocate Nilay Dutta, also an official of Assam Cricket Association (ACA).

The court order appointing the probe committee came after the petitioner Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) and the respondent BCCI conveyed their consent to the court's earlier suggestion to appoint an independent panel to probe the allegations of spot-fixing and betting during the IPL.

BCCI counsel C.A. Sundaram said that the board and Srinivasan won't interfere in the working of the probe panel.

"The Supreme Court has said that Srinivasan can take charge of the BCCI, and it also set up an independent probe panel into the IPL spot-fixing and betting scandal. This panel has to submit its report in four months. Srinivasan's lawyers and BCCI counsel told the court that the panel will work independently and he won't interfere in its working," Sundaram said.

Mudgal said it was an honour for him.

"It is an honour for me to head the panel. I have two eminent members in the panel and will chart out the course of action after talking to them. I think this panel is fair to all parties concerned," Mudgal said.

The Supreme Court earlier in an order restrained Srinivasan from taking charge of the apex cricketing body. Srinivasan was elected president unopposed for a third year at the BCCI Annual General Meeting in Chennai, Sep 29.

The CAB, which is not recognised by the BCCI, filed a petition in the Supreme Court that Srinivasan be barred from contesting the BCCI presidential election.

The petition was filed on the ground that Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan is being probed by Mumbai police for placing bets in IPL matches. Meiyappan, along with Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf and Bollywood actor Vindoo Dara Singh, has been named in the charge sheet filed by the Mumbai police.

Earlier, a two-member BCCI probe panel of Justice T. Jayarama Chouta and Justice R. Balasubramanian, former judges of the Madras High Court, gave a clean chit to Meiyappan, former team principal of Chennai Super Kings, and Raj Kundra, co-owner of Rajasthan Royals, in the betting scandal in the IPL.

But the Bombay High court, reacting on a petition filed by the CAB, said that the two-member commission was illegal. The BCCI went in appeal to the Supreme Court, which has now appointed an independent probe panel..

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