Supreme Court suggests fresh probe panel to BCCI

New Delhi, Oct 7 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday suggested setting up of a three-member panel, headed by former Punjab and Haryana High Court chief justice Mukul Mudgal, to probe alleged betting and spot-fixing in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The apex court bench of Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice J.S. Khehar sought the views of petitioner Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) and respondent Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on its suggestion for the probe panel.

The apex court is hearing cross petitions by the BCCI and the CAB with the BCCI challenging the Bombay High Court judgment that in terms of the the apex Indian cricket board's operational rules, the panel that probed the allegation of betting and spot-fixing was not validly constituted.

The CAB has impugned the rejection of its plea for independent probe into the spot-fixing and betting scandal.

The Supreme Court also proposed the names of Additional Solicitor General L. Nageswara Rao, a former cricketer, and senior advocate Nilay Dutta, who is also member of the Assam Cricket Association (ACA), as the other two members in the committee.

The apex court asked senior lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi representing CAB and C.A. Sundaram appearing for the BCCI to come up with their suggestions, and adjourned the case till Tuesday morning.

"Why we are suggesting these people because we have full confidence in them. All three of them are committed to cricket and are people of integrity," said Justice Patnaik, suggesting their names.

Sundaram's suggestion to associate Arun Jaitley - as he is no longer associated with the BCCI as its officer bearer - with the three-member committee was resisted by Singhvi, who observed that "there are wheels within wheels..."

The BCCI suggestion to appoint a Special Purpose Committee that will go into all the matter, including interacting with Mumbai police, did not find favour with the court.

"Our order will be confined to the subject before us," the court said, adding that "court will not say anything that infringes the police" as Singhvi sought a clarification that the setting up of the three-member probe panel many not eclipse the prosecution in the case by Mumbai police.

Singhvi strongly objected to Sundaram's suggestion to allow Srinivasan to function as the head of the BCCI but he would not let his shadow fall on the probe or the IPL working.

Singhvi said: "We have strong objection to the suggestion that he will head the BCCI but will not look at IPL. It is as good as a minister under cloud saying that he would head the ministry but not the department."

The Supreme Court earlier ordered restraint on Srinivasan from taking over the charge of the apex cricketing body will continue. Srinivasan was elected unopposed for a third year in office at the BCCI Annual General Meeting in Chennai, Sep 29.

The CAB, which is not recognised by the BCCI, earlier 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.

The apex court allowed Srinivasan to contest the election but said he cannot discharge his duties as the BCCI chief.

Earlier, a two-member BCCI probe panel comprising 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.

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