The Supreme Court on Thursday said Chennai Super Kings should be thrown out of the IPL without any further probe, virtually putting a question mark on the cash-rich league already battling allegations of betting and spot fixing.
The team’s all-powerful owner N Srinivasan, too, was dealt a blow when the court said the Indian cricket board should go ahead with its biennial elections but keep out those indicted by the Mudgal panel, which looked into charges of spot-fixing and betting that rocked Season 6 of the IPL.
The panel found Srinivasan, sidelined as the chief of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) by the court, guilty of failing to act against a player for violating conduct code.
The court also questioned the BCCI’s failure to act against Rajasthan Royals whose co-owner Raj Kundra was found involved in betting.
In the three-hour-long hearing, the court again raised the issue of the conflict of interest arising out of Srinivasan heading the BCCI and also owning CSK. A bench of justice TS Thakur and justice FMI Kalifullah said, “We want to know the real owners of the CSK.” It asked Srinivasan, who is India Cements managing director, to declare before it on December 1 — the next date of hearing — all shareholding patterns in the company as well as the cricket franchise.
Srinivasan has told the court that India Cements owns CSK."We would like to know the share-holding of the company and the stake of Srinivasan and his family," the court said. Srinivasan will also have to tell the court if the Rs 400 crore invested by India Cements in CSK had the approval of the company’s board.
The court wanted to know if Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meyiappan, found guilty of betting by the Mudgal panel, had a role in team selection as his wife was an India Cements board member. Meiyappan could be the ultimate controller of the team, it added.
Striking down Srinivasan and CSK captain MS Dhoni’s contention that Meiyappan was just a cricket enthusiast, the Mudgal panel had said he was a team official.
Pointing to the incestuous relationship between India Cements and BCCI, the court referred to Dhoni also the India captain, being a company vice-president.
“The point of distinction between the BCCI and the ICL is vanishing. There is hardly any distinction,” it said. The court was talking about Srinivasan’s special secretary Kasi Viswanathan, an India Cements employee, working for the BCCI.
The court said the non-players named by the panel should step aside as the board holds fresh elections during the twice postponed AGM on December 17.
The court said the BCCI didn’t have to wait for its verdict and should go ahead with action in accordance with the rules. “The BCCI must put an end to all the controversy,” the bench said. The board proposed a separate panel to hand out punishment to the indicted.