N. Srinivasan was not involved in match-fixing or illegal betting and did not attempt to scuttle the probe into corruption in the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Justice Mukul Mudgal panel's inquiry report has said. Portions of the 35-page report were made public by the Supreme Court on Monday. (Top 10 developments)
The report took note, however, of the fact that Srinivasan and the IPL governing council - including CEO Sundar Raman - were aware of betting in the tournament, but failed to take action. Talking about Srinivasan, referred as Individual 13, the report says, "This Individual is not involved with match-fixing activity. This individual was not found to be involved in scuttling the investigations into match-fixing." The report, however, highlights that Srinivasan was aware of Code of Conduct violations, "This individual along with four other BCCI officials was aware of the violation of the Players Code of Conduct by Individual 3 (unnamed player), but no action was taken against Individual 3 by any of the aforesaid officials who were aware of this infraction."
Srinivasan said he was relieved by the Mudgal report but did not wish to react till he read its excerpts.
This paves the way for N. Srinivasan to return to BCCI and even seek a second term as president. The BCCI annual general meeting or AGM is scheduled on November 20. Srinivasan was one of 13 people investigated by the Supreme Court-appointed inquiry committee that was led by retired judge Justice Mudgal. (Also read: When Indian players broke down before Mudgal committee)
The top court had asked Srinivasan to step aside as BCCI boss till investigations into the scandal were completed.
On Friday, the two-judge Supreme Court Bench had revealed the names of Srinivasan, his son-in-law and Chennai Super Kings team owner Gurunath Meiyappan, Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra and Sundar Raman among the "non-playing" members who were being probed. The court observed several "misdemeanours" in connection with the scandal. The four were served notices and the next hearing is scheduled on November 24.
The report says, "Investigations have confirmed that this individual (Gurunath Meiyappan) was a team official of a franchise. He was frequently meeting individual two (name withheld) in his hotel room. This strengthens the conclusion of the committee in its interim report dated February 10 that he was in close touch with individual number two. The panel, however, held that no material was available on record to show Mr Meiyappan was involved in match-fixing. The finding about his betting activities and the finding that he was a team official stood confirmed."
"The fourth individual Raj Kundra, a co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals, has been accused and charged with being in touch with bookies about betting. By not reporting contact with the bookie he had violated BCCI/IPL anti-corruption code and, according to information available, he had also been placing bets. The Committee also found that the investigations against this individual was abruptly and without reason stopped by the Rajasthan Police upon receiving the case papers from Delhi Police. The committee found that a friend of individual 11 (Kundra) was a known punter. The said punter has given a section 164 statement to the effect that he was placing bets on behalf of individual 11."
On Sundar Raman, the report said, "(He) knew a contact of a bookie and had contacted him eight times in one season." When questioned Raman "admitted" that "knew" the contact of the bookies, "but however claimed to be unaware of his connection with betting activities." The report says Raman, "also accepted" that he had received information about "individual 1 and individual 11 (i.e. Gurunath and Kundra) taking part in betting." He said he was "informed" by the ICC-ACSU chief that this was actionable information. Raman also "accepted" that this information about two team officials being reported as being involved in betting, "was not conveyed to any other individual."
After the November 14 hearing, Srinivasan had claimed that he was "clean" and should not be punished for Meiyappan's alleged misdeeds. "The honourable Supreme Court has not said anything against me. I also do not think there is any evidence against me. If there was anything against me, the (court) order would have been different," Srinivasan had said in an interview.
The Mudgal report will come as a bit of relief for the pro-Srinivasan camp. The current BCCI office-bearers, who are desperate to get ICC chairman elected for another term, have summoned an emergency working committee meeting on Tuesday to tackle an anti-Srinivasan wave, led by former president Shashank Manohar and with tacit support from ex-BCCI boss Sharad Pawar.
(With inputs from A. Vaidyanathan)