New Delhi: A day after the Mukul Mudgal panel agreed to further probe the allegations against the 13 names mentioned in the sealed envelope submitted to the Supreme Court on February 10, NDTV has learnt that Mumbai Police may be asked to assist in investigating the Indian Premier League spot-fixing and betting scandal that rocked Indian cricket last year. A formal order is expected on Tuesday when the Supreme Court dwells on the case once again.
On Tuesday, Justice Mudgal, who earlier led a Supreme Court appointed three-member inquiry team, agreed to do another round of investigation after a proposed BCCI panel was struck down. Mudgal's consent came after the top court requested the former Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court judge to continue to probe allegations of corruption against suspended BCCI president N. Srinivasan and 12 others. The court also directed Justice Mudgal to pick the agencies who could assist him during investigations. The Mumbai Police is likely to be one of them.
The crime branch of the Mumbai Police has been a major investigative agency in the IPL spot-fixing and betting case. They were the ones who arrested actor Vindoo Dara Singh and Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan. Mumbai Police filed a chargesheet in September last year. It charged Singh, Meiyappan and Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf for illegal activities.
Interestingly, one of the judges AK Patnaik said the court was not in favour of giving the probe to the police or the CBI because both law enforcement agencies were "badly maintained". Mudgal will now have the option to choose the agencies he wants.
Mudgal will also have the right to choose the men in his new panel. Additional Solicitor General L. Nageswara Rao and senior advocate Nilay Dutta were part of his team when the Supreme Court constituted the inquiry panel in October last year. On February 10, the panel submitted two reports. One was jointly signed by Mudgal and Rao while Dutta filed an independent report. In addition, a confidential sealed envelope with unverified information was also submitted to the court. The focus is now on this envelope and the 13 names inside it.
Dutta is a BCCI member and is also on the IPL Governing Council. It is not sure whether Dutta will be part of the new panel. The BCCI panel comprising former Test all-rounder Ravi Shastri, ex-CBI boss RK Raghavan and former judge JN Patel was trashed by the top court on Tuesday because there were questions of conflict of interest on all three. Mudgal may just play it safe this time.
Meanwhile, the BCCI's lawyers will get to hear the audio recordings of three key depositions -- Srinivasan, Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni and IPL chief operating officer Sundar Raman -- made to the Mudgal committee. The real identity of Meiyappan is the biggest question. The Mudgal committee has already indicted Meiyappan for betting and sharing team information. It has also said that Meiyappan was a CSK official and the face of the two-time IPL champions. The tapes will now clear what Srinivasan and Dhoni actually told the inquiry panel. Srinivasan has always maintained that his son-in-law was no more than a keen "enthusiast."