The cricket world is awaiting the final Mudgal committee probe report on allegations of corruption in 2013 Indian Premier League.
The focus is on Board of Control for Cricket in India's president-in-exile N. Srinivasan, one of the 13 names investigated by Justice Mukul Mudgal, a former High Court judge, and his team. A clutch of high-profile cricketers are also under the scanner.
The report will be submitted to a special Supreme Court bench on November 3. The bench comprising Justice T.S. Thakur and Ibrahim Kalifulla, will hear the case on November 10, a day that could be a game-changer in Indian cricket. The main parties contesting the case - petitioner Cricket Association of Bihar and the BCCI-N.Srinivasan combination - believe the law will prevail and the corrupt booked.
Srinivasan seems to be confident that he will come out clean. His son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan is in the eye of the storm. Meiyappan, the team principal of Chennai Super Kings, has been indicted for betting and sharing team information. Latest reports confirm his conversation with bookies. Two-time IPL champions Chennai Super Kings is owned by Srinivasan's company, India Cements.
Bihar secretary Aditya Verma's main 'rival' is not Meiyappan, but Srinivasan. A dogged Verma believes Srinivasan has been the kingpin and ran the BCCI at his whims and fancies. Srinivasan, who is now the ICC chairman, is eyeing a second stint as BCCI president. Much will depend on how the Supreme Court Bench interprets the Mudgal report.
BCCI's Annual General Meeting was deferred to November 20. According to the Board constitution, it should have been held by September 30. It's a clear indication that the BCCI is waiting for Srinivasan to take charge again. Meanwhile, Srinivasan is making his East Zone rounds, a territory that will nominate the next Board chief. By making donations and promising international cricket, Srinivasan should win over all East units.
Tactical Srinivasan is happy playing the waiting game. The ICC is his bigger playing field but winning his position back in BCCI, is surely a more prestigious 'war'. The battle lines are drawn. Over to the judiciary now.
The top developments (in ascending order) of the IPL betting and spot-fixing case:
1.Â Â Â The case dates back to June 2013. Aditya Verma, secretary of the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB), filed a PIL in Bombay High Court raising charges of a conflict of interest in the Board's two-member inquiry panel probing corruption in IPL. The Bombay High Court declared the probe "illegal".
Â 2.Â Â Â The BCCI and the CAB went to the Supreme Court against the Bombay High Court order. Verma's lawyers said the Bombay court could have suggested a fresh mechanism to investigate the charges of corruption.
3.Â Â Â In October 2013, the Supreme Court appointed a three-member committee, headed by former High Court judge Mukul Mudgal. The panel included additional solicitor general L Nageswara Rao and senior advocate Nilay Dutta. The Supreme Court wanted the panel to conduct an independent inquiry into the allegations of corruption against Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, India Cements, and Rajasthan Royals team owner Raj Kundra. The team was also asked to probe allegations of betting and spot-fixing in IPL and the involvement of players.
4.Â Â Â On February 10, 2014, the Mudgal Committee submitted two reports to the Supreme court. One submitted jointly by Mudgal and Rao and one by Dutta. They also filed a sealed envelope containing 13 names against whom there were "unsubstantiated" charges of corruption. One of the names was Srinivasan.
5.Â Â Â On March 28, Supreme Court suspends Srinivasan as BCCI president. In its interim order, the court says Srinivasan will be replaced by former cricketers Sunil Gavaskar and Shivlal Yadav. Gavaskar was given charge of IPL affairs while former Test spinner Yadav was entrusted with non-IPL issues.
6.Â Â Â On April 15, Srinivasan files an affidavit saying the Supreme Court should reinstate him as BCCI president. Srinivasan says he is innocent and allegations of conflict of interest were baseless. He also says that he never tried to hide the real identity of Meiyappan, indicted by Mudgal committee for betting and sharing team (Chennai Super Kings) information.
7.Â Â Â In May this year, following the panel's initial report, the Supreme Court gave the Mudgal committee greater powers to investigate the contents of the sealed envelope. Assisted by former senior IPS officer BB Mishra and Mumbai and Chennai police among others, the panel got greater investigative powers for search and seizure of relevant documents. It did not have the power to arrest. The panel was asked to submit a report by August-end.
8.Â Â Â The Mudgal panel seeks a two-month extension to complete its probe. The Supreme Court allows the extension.
9.Â Â Â BCCI lawyers want Srinivasan to be reinstated since the Board AGM was due. The Bench refused saying BCCI AGM was "not its concern." The court also referred to an earlier order by Justice AK Patnaik saying Srinivasan "could not come back as BCCI president as long as the probe is on."
10.Â Â Â BCCI puts off AGM to November 20, clearly indicating that it will wait for Supreme Court's ruling on 'suspended' Srinivasan.