The final Justice Mukul Mudgal report on the Indian Premier League spot-fixing and betting scam will not be available to the media, according to a Supreme Court order on Friday. The report, which is expected in August-end, will be submitted in a sealed envelope and can only be opened by the Bench hearing the case. The judges have asked for maximum caution against any 'leaks'.
The two inquiry reports which were submitted to the top court by Justice Mudgal's team on February 10 this year were made public through the media. Given the sensitive nature of the investigation - top cricketers as well as suspended BCCI president N. Srinivasan have allegedly been linked with the scam - the Supreme Court wants utmost confidentiality this time. A new Bench will hear the matter in first week of September, just days before the BCCI's Annual General Meeting.
In Friday's order passed by Justice AK Patnaik and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla, there is a clear hint that players and officials were involved in the scam. On February 10, Justice Mudgal's panel had submitted a sealed envelope containing the names of 13 persons against whom there were unverified charges of corruption.
This time, the focus will be on the 13 names in the envelope and the Bench has advised caution in dealing with the case because the reputation of players and officials are at stake. In spite of BCCI objection, the judges asked Justice Mudgal to continue the probe for reasons of secrecy and continuity.
Justice Patnaik, the senior judge on the Bench, is retiring in June. He was the more vocal member on the Bench, even calling Srinivasan's continuation as BCCI chief as "nauseating." Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan is in the eye of the IPL storm.
The September hearing will certainly impact the way the BCCI will be run for the next two years. Srinivasan is in his third (and final) year as Board president. He is keen on another extension and according to well-placed sources, has been lobbying for a nomination from East Zone, whose turn it will be to elect a new BCCI super boss.
The following is the Supreme Court order passed on May 16, 2014:
1. We are of the considered opinion that the allegations against the 13 persons including Mr. N. Srinivasan mentioned in the report submitted in the sealed cover should be investigated into by the Justice Mudgal Committee and the team of investigators because if a new Probe Committee is entrusted to inquire into the allegations, there is likelihood of the allegations being leaked to the public and such leakage will damage the reputation of the 13 persons beyond repair.
2. In the written note submitted by Mr. Gopal Subramanium appearing for the Justice Mudgal Committee, it is suggested that the Justice Mudgal Committee be assisted in the investigation by the following persons:
(i) Shri M.L. Sharma, IPS (Retired); (ii) An officer from Mumbai Police (preferably not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police); (iii) An officer from Chennai Police (preferably not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police); (iv) An officer from Delhi Police (preferably not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police); and (v) A former cricketer of repute and integrity.
In view of objections made on behalf of the BCCI and Mr. N. Srinivasan, we are of the view that instead of Shri M.L. Sharma, IPS (Retired), Shri B.B. Mishra, IPS of the 1983 batch of Assam-Meghalaya Cadre who has a vast experience in investigation including experience in the CBI and who is presently working as Deputy Director General, Narcotics Control Bureau, New Delhi, should head the investigation team. The other officers from Mumbai Police, Chennai Police and Delhi Police and a former cricketer of repute and integrity mentioned against serial Nos. (ii) to (iv) above will be chosen by the Justice Mudgal Committee in consultation with Shri B.B. Mishra.
3. We further direct that the competent authority of Government of India will pass appropriate orders placing the services of Shri B.B. Mishra at the disposal of the Justice Mudgal Committee till completion of the investigation and submission of the report to this Court. Shri B.B. Mishra and the other officers of the investigating team will have the powers to investigate, require attendance of witnesses, the power to examine witnesses, the power to search and the power to seize and all other powers necessary for investigation except the power to arrest and the source of these powers of investigation will be this order passed by this Court. All concerned persons including the BCCI, Mr. N. Srinivasan and the cricket players will co- operate with the investigation in all respects. In case of any difficulty, the Justice Mudgal Committee may apply to this Court for necessary orders for the purpose of completing the investigation. After investigation, the report will be filed in this Court by the Justice Mudgal Committee by the end of August, 2014 in a sealed cover and the Members of the Committee and the investigation team will not reveal anything regarding the investigation to others and the media and will maintain absolute confidentiality.
4. As directed in our earlier order dated 08.10.2013, the BCCI will bear all the expenses of travel, boarding and lodging of the Chairman and Members of the Justice Mudgal Committee as well as Shri B.B. Mishra and other officers of the investigation team. The Chairman and Members of the Committee will also be entitled to fees of Rupees One lakh per working day from the BCCI. The Central Government as well as the concerned State Governments will continue to pay the salary and other allowances to be paid to Shri B.B. Mishra and to all other officers of the team of investigation and the BCCI will reimburse the appropriate Government accordingly. The cricketer who is included in the team of investigation will also be entitled to fees of Rupees One lakh per working day from the BCCI apart from expenses of travel, boarding and lodging.
5. The matters will be listed in first week of September, 2014 for further hearing before the appropriate Bench. In the meanwhile, Mr. Sunil Gavaskar and Mr. Shivlal Yadav will continue to exercise the powers of the President of the BCCI as per the order dated 28.03.2014 of this Court.