The Supreme Court on Tuesday suggested a committee to go into the aspect of punishment for those found guilty in the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing case — in particular, Gurunath Meiyappan, former team principal of Chennai Super Kings and son-in-law of Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI’s) president-in-exile, N Srinivasan.
A Bench headed by judge T S Thakur clarified it did not want to bypass BCCI but mooted the idea of a committee to also go into preventive steps, so that situations involving conflict of interest, like in the present case, did not occur. This would be in the best interest of the game, the judges observed, adding the rules could even be amended to save cricket.
BCCI counsel C A Sundaram submitted the panel could suggest the punishment, which would be binding, but other recommendations of the panel, such as amendments to the rules, would require the approval of BCCI’s general body. The committee could only make suggestions on change the rules; otherwise, the bylaws would cease to have any effect.
Kapil Sibal, senior counsel for Srinivasan, said the BCCI chief’s reputation would be affected by further probe. There were only allegations against Srinivasan that had not been affirmed by the Mudgal committee. He should be allowed to contest the coming election to the top BCCI post, Sibal said.
However, senior counsel Nalini Chidambaram, representing the Cricket Association of Bihar, which opposes Srinivasan, pointed out that the investigation had not given a clean chit to Srinivasan. She also said she had submitted documentary proof before the court to show cover-up and conflict of interest. Srinivasan should be kept out of the contest, she insisted. She wanted to present documentary evidence before the committee, if it was formed. According to Chidambaram, Srinivasan must get the same punishment as Meiyappan.
Sibal vehemently opposed the suggestion and asserted there should be no “person-specific” action, and Srinivasan should be allowed to contest the BCCI election. The judges said they did not want to disqualify Srinivasan but the air should be cleared by a committee, if possible.
The arguments on the IPL scam have spilled over to the second week and the case will be next heard on Wednesday.