The Bombay high court ruled as illegal the two-member inquiry committee appointed by the cricket Board that probed the betting and spot fixing allegations primarily because BCCI rules mandate inclusion of at least one member of the IPL Code of Behaviour Committee, which was not done.
"The said commission (comprising two retired high court judges) was not duly constituted," the division bench of justices SJ Vazifdar and MS Sonak said in the order of Tuesday. "It was constituted contrary to and in violation of the provisions of Rules 2.2 and 3 of Section 6 of the Operational Rules (of BCCI).
"Rule 2.2, therefore, mandatorily requires a member of the IPL Code of Behaviour committee to be on the commission," the bench said, adding that the BCCI is however entitled to nominate more members to the inquiry panel.
The bench struck down BCCI's contention that no IPL Code of Behaviour Committee member was available for appointment after two members - (secretary) Sanjay Jagdale and (treasurer) Ajay Shirke resigned. The Board submitted that two other members - Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shastri - were available, but did not explain why they were not considered for appointment to the panel.
The court order came on a PIL filed by the Cricket Association of Bihar, which contented that the constitution of the two-member probe panel was contrary to the Operational Rules of the BCCI. The panel cleared India Cements, which owns the Chennai Super Kings, its official Gurunath Meiyappan, the Rajasthan Royals as well as its co-owner Raj Kundra of any wrongdoing.
The court, however, did not give any clear directive on Cricket Association of Bihar's claim that Srinivasan had played a key role in forming the panel and created a situation of conflict of interests, as he owned CSK.
The bench found that the petitioners had not tendered any evidence to suggest that Srinivasan had played a role in the constitution of the probe panel. But the BCCI too failed to prove he had not.
The bench declined to grant further relief, to constitute a fresh probe panel comprising retired judges of the Bombay HC to go into the allegations.
"The constitution of a probe commission under section 6 of the Operational Rules is the prerogative of respondent No.1 (BCCI)," the bench said.
"We see no reason to deprive it of the same at this stage and in this writ petition." The order was made available on Wednesday.