In spite of opposition from the Board of Control for cricket in India, the Supreme Court has asked Justice Mukul Mudgal to carry on the probe into the Indian Premier League spot-fixing and betting controversy that rocked Indian cricket last year. The two-judge Bench ordered on Friday that a report must be submitted by the new panel in a sealed envelope by August-end.
Appointed in October last year, Justice Mudgal had headed a three-man committee -- additional solicitor general L Nageswara Rao and senior advocate Nilay Dutta were the others -- that investigated the IPL scam. It had submitted two reports and a sealed envelope to the Supreme Court on February 10. Rao and Dutta will also be part of the new panel.
The Supreme Court said a group of investigators headed by senior IPS officer BB Mishra will assist the Mudgal Committee. The fresh panel will have all the powers to probe, search and seize relevant documents and record evidence. The committee will have all the powers except the power to arrest. One former cricketer "of repute and integrity" will be chosen by Mudgal and Mishra.
The focus of the second round of probe will be on the 13 names mentioned in the sealed envelope. Suspended BCCI president N. Srinivasan is one of the 13 names. It has been alleged that several top players, including India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, have links with bookies. The sealed envelope contains incriminating but unverified information, according to the panel.
Explaining why he turned down BCCI's request for a fresh panel sans Mudgal, Justice AK Patnaik, the senior judge on the Bench, said it was good for the reputation of the 13 persons in the sealed involved that their names don't reach "new eyes". Justice Patnaik said if the names became public, the reputations of "very famous" people "will be damaged beyond repair".
The court said Sunil Gavaskar and Shivlal Yadav will continue as interim presidents till further orders were made. The former Test players were made stop-gap presidents after Srinivasan was stood down as BCCI head till investigations were over. Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan is facing corruption charges and has been indicted in Justice Mudgal's February 10 report. Gurunath was also a Chennai Super Kings team official.