N Srinivasan cannot be reinstated as BCCI chief if the cricket board is to probe the 13 persons named in the Justice Mudgal committee’s sealed cover report — the other 12 being “well-known” cricketers — the Supreme Court said Wednesday.
Referring to the contents of the report, it accused Srinivasan of turning a blind eye to alleged incidents of spot-fixing and betting in IPL. However, it said it did not favour a police investigation — which would “sully” the image of the cricketers — and left it to the BCCI to decide who should probe the matter.
Srinivasan had Tuesday moved the SC, asking it to reconsider its order restraining him from continuing as BCCI president till the court decided the petition accusing him of protecting his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, an accused.
“There are 13 names and he (Srinivasan) is named the last. The rest are well-known cricketers. The allegation against him is he knew about everything but did not take action. So how can we be sure he would do so now if he heads BCCI?” a bench of justice AK Patnaik and justice Ibrahim Kalifulla said.
The court said it was keen to protect the board’s autonomy and the reputation of “well-known” players but cannot keep its “eyes closed” to the report. “If cricket has to cleansed, then for BCCI it is necessary to maintain institutional autonomy. Everything cannot be mastered by CBI, court or police. We are concerned with the reputation of some great players,” it said.
The BCCI, which has till April 22 to reply, supported Srinivasan’s plea, calling the allegations against him baseless, and also said it wasn’t averse to a CBI probe.
On its request to provide it with transcripts of Indian captain MS Dhoni, Srinivasan and IPL chief operator officer Sundar Raman’s interactions with the Mudgal committee, the SC said this would be decided after getting the committee’s response. This is the first time the BCCI has questioned the committee’s findings and denied Dhoni, Srinivasan and Sundar Raman had protected Meiyappan.
The court had last month ordered Srinivasan — seen as the most powerful man in world cricket — to stand aside, installing batting great Sunil Gavaskar as interim BCCI head and working president of IPL7. On Gavaskar’s request, it allowed Sundar Raman to continue as IPL COO.