Mudgal committee report: Srinivasan cleared, IPL chief indicted5 min read . Updated: 18 Nov 2014, 12:48 AM IST
Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan found guilty of betting, but absolved of match-fixing
New Delhi: The Supreme Court-appointed Mudgal Committee has cleared N. Srinivasan, the in-limbo president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), of allegations of match-fixing, paving a way for a possible return by him to the top post in Indian cricket.
Whether he can do that, however, depends on how the case filed by the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB), based on which the Supreme Court ordered the investigation, progresses in the apex court, and how the court eventually rules.
The report of the committee, headed by former judge Mukul Mudgal and publicized in full for the first time on Monday, also absolved Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan of charges of match-fixing although it did find him, and Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra, guilty of betting in last year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament.
That raises questions about the future of Chennai Super Kings, the team owned by Srinivasan’s India Cements Ltd, and Rajasthan Royals.
The company and Srinivasan had passed off Meiyappan’s role in the team as that of an “enthusiast", but the Mudgal committee’s report says: “Investigations have confirmed that this individual was a team official of a franchise."
Meiyappan was arrested in May last year by Mumbai Police probing illegal betting, but was released on bail after two weeks.
The controversy erupted after some cricketers, including former Test paceman S. Sreesanth, were arrested for allegedly giving away a minimum number of runs in specific overs for payoffs by racketeers. Sreesanth has been banned for life from playing competitive cricket.
“According to the report, it seems clear there doesn’t seem much to link Srinivasan to the activities that Meiyappan undertook himself," said a senior executive from a leading sports marketing agency who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“For Srinivasan, it’s an act of omission rather than commission," said the executive, adding that both Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings risked penal action.
According to IPL rules, a team can be suspended if its officials bring the event into disrepute.
The big loser from the revelations could be Sundar Raman, the chief executive officer (CEO) of IPL. Unlike the other three indicted by the report who are either team owners or honorary officials, Raman is employed by the BCCI.
The report says that Raman (individual 12) “knew a contact of a bookie and had contacted him eight times in one season. This individual (Raman) admitted knowing the contact of the bookies, but however claimed to be unaware of his connection with betting activities."
Observing that Raman was in the know of malpractices taking place in the tournament, the committee has pulled him up for his subsequent failure to take action against such wrongdoing.
“This individual (Raman) also accepted that he had received information about individual 1 (Meiyappan) and individual 11 (Rajasthan Royals co-owner Kundra) taking part in betting activities, but was informed by the ICC-ACSU chief that this was not actionable information," the report said. “This individual (Raman) also accepted that this information was not conveyed to any other individual."
ICC-ACSU is short for International Cricket Council Anti-Corruption Security Unit.
Much like Raman, Srinivasan, also chairman of the ICC, has also been pulled up by the report for not taking action against an infraction by a player.
It observed that Srinivasan “along with four other BCCI officials was aware of the violation of the Players’ Code of Conduct by Individual 3 (not named), but no action was taken against Individual 3 by any of the aforesaid officials who were aware of this infraction."
A senior BCCI member noted that Srinivasan hadn’t personally been accused of match-fixing or betting. “But what is disappointing about his conduct is that he failed in his duty from taking action on those who were close to him. This is real conflict of interest," he said on condition of anonymity.
On Raman, the same BCCI member said: “He has to be suspended immediately. As the CEO of the IPL, he is responsible for everything in the league. How could he allow these things to happen? He too failed in his duty."
Kundra has also been heavily indicted by the committee in its report. On Kundra’s activities, the report says: “This individual (Kundra) was in touch with bookies about betting and thus by not reporting contact with the bookie has violated BCCI/IPL Anti-Corruption Code. The Committee also found that the investigation against this individual was abruptly and without reason stopped by the Rajasthan Police upon receiving the case..."
It adds: “The committee found that a friend of individual 11 (Kundra) was a known punter. The said punter has given section 164 statements to the effect that he was placing bets on behalf of individual 11 (Kundra). Individual 11 (Kundra) had introduced him (punter) to another bookie who dealt with larger stakes. Section 161 statement made by another player confirmed that Individual 11 (Kundra) introduced him to a bookie. Materials on record indicate that Individual 11 (Kundra) was placing bets or was at the minimum standing guarantee for his punter friend. These infractions also violate the BCCI/IPL Anti-Corruption Code."
That puts Kundra’s team in the same position as Chennai Super Kings.
According to clause 11.3 (c) of the IPL franchise agreements, the agreements can be terminated if “the Franchise, any Franchise Group Company and/or any owner acts in any way which has a material adverse effect upon the reputation or the standing of the League, BCCI-IPL, BCCI, the Franchise, the team (or any other team in the League) and/or the game of cricket."
Srinivasan declined to comment as did India Cements.
“The findings of the Mukul Mudgal Committee report clear the decks for N. Srinivasan’s re-election (as BCCI president) and we will definitely back him up," said a senior BCCI official who is close to Srinivasan, on condition of anonymity
The same official also said IPL will survive the investigation. “IPL 8 (in 2015) will happen and whatever directions are issued by the Supreme Court will be followed," he said.
On the alleged involvement of players in spot-fixing and betting, the official said only some small-time players had been involved in such offences. “Those who have done it are small-time players; severe action will be taken against them, including a life-time ban."
He added that Meiyappan, indicted for his involvement in betting, has been banned by the BCCI from entering stadiums and that will continue. On Raman, he said: “BCCI is bold and mature enough to take steps against such people."