In a significant decision that ruled out any complicity by a cricket Board official in the 2013 spot-fixing scandal, the RM Lodha committee on Monday cleared former Indian Premier League COO, Sundar Raman, of any wrongdoing.
The Supreme Court-appointed panel headed by the former Chief Justice of India said there was no ‘cogent evidence’ to prove the issues brought out in the probe report presented to the court by the Justice Mukul Mudgal panel.
Raman was under pressure after the Mudgal panel report said the official had made several calls to the contact of a bookie during the course of an IPL season. However, the Lodha panel said there was no evidence to suggest he had acted with any ‘ulterior motive’.
“However, his omission (of not reporting to IPL governing council) was a wrong decision not expected of a COO. But it is not material to infer that the said decision was motivated,” Justice Lodha told a news conference while releasing the second part of his report dealing with the Sundar Raman issue and giving suggestions to revamp the BCCI administration.
Raman, who was investigated by the Mudgal panel --- it submitted its report to the Supreme Court on January, 22, 2015 after which the Lodha panel was appointed --- deposed before the first committee that he did not consider the exchange of phone calls and text messages actionable and hence did not report it to the anti-corruption authorities or the IPL governing council.
Lodha said if Raman had brought it to the notice of the officials, the subsequent spot-fixing scandal where three players, including former India pacer S Sreesanth were arrested, could have been prevented. “But it can’t be said it was an act of corruption or act causing corruption”.
Lodha said further investigation by CBI official, Vivek Priyadarshi, of his panel showed there were contacts made 34 times between Raman and Nupur Mehta, the alleged bookie contact, but most of them were made by the latter, some of them to wish the IPL official on festival days, birthday etc. “It is difficult to conclude he was involved in suspicious acts,” he added.
Raman resigned from his post following a change of guard in the BCCI in October with Shashank Manohar taking over as BCCI president.