India cricket captain MS Dhoni gave a false statement to protect Gurunath Meiyappan in the IPL fixing scandal, the Supreme Court was told Thursday. If true, the charge can even lead to a life ban for breach of the BCCI’s anti-corruption code.
Appearing before the justice Mudgal committee that the scandal, Dhoni, who captains Chennai Super Kings in IPL, said Meiyappan, the son-in-law of BCCI chief N Srinivasan, was a mere cricket enthusiast and had nothing to do with CSK.
“The captain of the Indian team is guilty of corrupt practice,” senior counsel Harish Salve told the court which was taken aback when told that Dhoni was also the vice-president of Srinivasan’s India Cements that owns CSK.
Dhoni gave a “false statement to get him (Meiyappan) off the hook. He indulged in a cover-up which is a corrupt act”, said Salve appearing for Aditya Verma, petitioner and secretary of the Cricket Bihar Association (CAB).
In its report, the Mudgal panel said Meiyappan, arrested on charges of betting and passing team information before being released on bail, was indeed a CSK official.
Quoting from the Mudgal report, Salve said, “There is evidence in the form of India Cements’ letter asking BCCI to issue passes for Meiyappan under the title of team owner.”
According to the report, Dhoni said Meiyappan held no shares in the company that owned CSK and hence, could not be considered a CSK owner.
“Further, Dhoni took the stand that Meiyappan had nothing to do with the cricketing affairs of Chennai Super Kings and was a mere cricket enthusiast,” the report said. The Mudgal panel though established that Meiyappan was a team official as per IPL rules.
If proved, this could mean Dhoni flouted the BCCI’s anti-corruption code. It says a participant who covers-up or is otherwise complicit in any acts or omissions committed by his/her coach, trainer, manager, agent, family member, guest or other affiliate shall be treated as having committed such acts or omissions himself and shall be liable accordingly.
The offence can invite punishment ranging from one-year to a life ban. The BCCI disciplinary committee can also let off the player with a fine.