The panel headed by justice Mukul Mudgal on Tuesday agreed to continue to probe the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing and betting scandal after the Supreme Court rejected a three-man committee proposed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), reports said.
Earlier in the day, the apex court had asked the justice Mudgal panel whether it will conduct further probe against N Srinivasan and 12 others, including some prominent cricketers, who were named by it in a sealed envelope after it conducted initial investigation in the scandal.
A bench headed by justice AK Patnaik had said if it agrees to conduct further probe, the committee will be given assistance by investigating agencies.
The BCCI had informed the court it has decided to constitute a three-member panel to probe the IPL scam but the bench had said it will pass the order after hearing all the parties and after considering justice Mudgal committee's reply.
Former chief justice of Calcutta high court JN Patel, former India skipper Ravi Shastri and former CBI chief RK Raghavan were nominated at a BCCI emergent working committee meeting on Sunday for the new internal spot-fixing inquiry committee.
The bench also allowed Srinivasan and BCCI to hear some portions of justice Mudgal committee's interactions with Srinivasan, MS Dhoni and IPL 7 chief operating officer Sundar Raman.
It asked the probe committee to provide audio recordings to the Supreme Court's secretary general who will make arrangements for the BCCI and Srinivasan's counsel to hear the tapes in the apex court.
The court asked the BCCI and Srinivasan to maintain complete confidentiality about the contents of the audio tapes and not to leak it to anybody.
"Any content of the audio recordings going out means cricket would be blackened in the country," the bench said.
The audio recordings will be heard in the presence of secretary general by advocate Amit Sibal on behalf of Srinivasan and advocate Rohini Musa on behalf of the BCCI.
According to NDTV, BCCI has been provided with tapes of conversation between Mudgal panel and Srinivasan, MS Dhoni and Raman.
The apex court had on April 16 expressed reservations over a SIT or CBI probe, saying that institutional autonomy of the BCCI has to be maintained and a committee constituted by the board to look into the issue would be preferred.
The court had said that it cannot "close its eyes" to the allegations made by its probe committee in the scandal and a probe must be conducted to clear the air as some prominent players were named in the report.
After the BCCI named the three-member panel to probe the IPL scandal, its independence had come under doubt with all three nominees reported to have links to either the board or its sidelined president Srinivasan, leading to a possible conflict of interest.
After objections against Shastri and Raghavan's inclusion on Sunday, JN Patel was revealed to be the brother-in-law of interim BCCI president Shivlal Yadav on Monday.
Shastri — a contracted commentator with the board – is also on the IPL's governing council while Raghavan is the honorary secretary of Kamyuth Cricket Club, an affiliated member of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA), headed by Srinivasan.
Raghavan appeared as a witness in the justice Mudgal inquiry committee that named Srinivasan and 12 other players in the scandal.
The unrecognised Cricket Association of Bihar chief Aditya Verma, who had dragged the BCCI to court over the IPL spot-fixing scandal, had rejected the panel on Sunday, calling for a CBI inquiry instead.
The probe panel was constituted after the SC directed the BCCI last week to suggest names of persons who will conduct a "fair probe" into the IPL scandal.
On Monday, after former BCCI president Sharad Pawar asked justice Patel to come clean on his links with Yadav, the interim president told HT, "Yes, Patel is my brother-in-law, but it was Shashank Manohar who proposed his name. I only chaired the meeting, I didn’t propose any name. You should ask Shashank about it."
Pawar, on his part, hinted at Patel's possible recusal from the panel.
"If the news (about Patel) is correct, then the people will judge. I have seen (that) a judge will immediately recuse himself from a case if a lawyer in the case is close to him," Pawar told PTI.
"Knowing justice Patel’s reputation well, I am sure he won’t allow this," he added.
Raghavan didn't escape the controversy either with a TNCA member confirming to HT that Raghavan holds the post of honorary secretary in the TNCA-affiliated club. Raghavan, however, has not attended the TNCA annual general meeting in the last two years, the source added.
The third member of the probe committee, Shastri, also came under attack from Pawar.
"How can a person who has a financial contract with the BCCI become part of an inquiry committee on the BCCI chief?" he asked.
(With PTI inputs)
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