A helpful summary of the complex IPL 6 spot-fixing and betting caseManali Kulkarni
This week’s Indian sports law update focuses on the Indian Premier League1 2013 Season (IPL-6) scandal court hearings and developments related to the IPL case.
The IPL-6 spot-fixing and betting scandal has been in the Indian sports section headlines since the case started in the May 2013. From the initial arrest of the bookies to the suspension of Srinivasan, former BCCI head, and now the BCCI claiming that the Mudgal Committee’s investigative findings are “erroneous” after gaining access to audio transcripts, the IPL case hearings always resulted in unexpected decisions over the last year. While investigations will continue, the Supreme Court will resume hearing the IPL-6 case in September.
Overview of the IPL-6 Case2
Based on a First Post article summary4
- Narayanaswami Srinivasan filed an affidavit5 requesting the Court to reconsider its decision about removing him as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)6 president. The Supreme Court decides that Srinivasan would not be permitted to “perform any function within India's cricket Board and that its interim order on March 28 will stand.”7
- The court allows Sundar Raman, the Chief Operating Officer of the IPL, to continue as COO for IPL 7.
- Interim BCCI president, Sunil Gavaskar, tells the court he can not perform the investigation into Raman’s credibility, as recommended by Aditya Verma (the Cricket Association of Bihar’s secretary, and petitioner in this case), by owing to having worked with Raman in the past.
- The now suspended IPS officer, G Sampath Kumar’s statement accusing Dhoni for his involvement in the spot-fixing scandal, which “told the Justice Mudgal Committee that India captain MS Dhoni was named by bookie Utham Jain (aka Kitty), along with Gurunath Meiyappan,” is “accepted by the court.” (See last update for this week for new developments on IPS Office Kumar’s deposition).
- The Supreme Court decides that the BCCI can access the minutes from the interviews, only if the information released to the BCCI would also be made available to the opposition. The BCCI would not be able to selectively expose specific parts of the interviews for it’s own purposes.
- The Supreme Court decides to give the BCCI the option of running its own “fair probe” into the IPL-6 spot-fixing scandal. The BCCI called an emergent working committee meeting on April 208 to discuss the matter before the next scheduled hearing on April 22.
- The Working Committee of the BCCI selects “former India all-rounder Ravi Shastri, former Calcutta High Court Chief Justice J N Patel and ex-CBI Director RK Raghavan as members of the probe committee,”9 of which Raghavan previously headed the 1999- 2000 match-fixing investigation.10
- The BCCI does not opt for a CBI probe, and decides on an independent probe to maintain “the institutional autonomy of the Board” by selecting “a committee constituted by the BCCI to look into the issue,” as expressed by Justices A K Patnaik and F M Ibrahim Kalifulla in the NDTV Sports summary.11
- Though eligible to attend the emergent meeting as president of the TNCA, Srinivasan was not present to decide the BCCI probe panel.12
April 22 hearing
- BCCI proposed “three-member panel”: Ravi Shastri, a BCCI employee as well as “contracted as a commentator.”13 JN Patel, related by marriage to Shivlal Yadav, interim BCCI president along with Sunil Gavaskar. Ex-CBI head, R K Raghavan, who was already approached by the BCCI for his “expert views” and advice on the IPL probe in response to the hearing on March 25, 201414, is also the “secretary of a club in theTamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA)15, of which N Srinivasan (currently being investigated after being named in the Mudgal IPL Probe Committee Report16) is president.” These backgrounds involve conflicts of interests, leading the proposed BCCI committee to be rejected.17
- The Supreme Court rejectsthe BCCI probe committee because of “the credibility of the panel”, according to a CNN-IBN article.18
- The Supreme Court asks the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee to continue the IPL investigation. Justice Mudgal accepts this request and waits for the Court on how to proceed.
- Supreme Court does allow the BCCI access to the audio transcripts of MS Dhoni and Srinivasan, under the promise of “complete confidentiality”19. The BCCI wanted to confirm the allegations against Dhoni about calling Meiyappan a “cricket enthusiast,” which matched Srinivasan’s words; both Dhoni and Srinivasan denied these allegations.
- The audio recordings were dated from 5 November 2013 to 6 January 2014, after which the recordings were stopped because of confidentiality concerns.20
- The audio recordings were made available on a pen drive to the BCCI and heard under the supervision of “the Secretary General by advocate Amit Sibal on behalf of Srinivasan and advocate Rohini Musa on behalf of the Board.”21
April 29 hearing
After gaining limited and confidential access to some of the audio recordings and transcripts at the April 22 hearing, the BCCI claimed that the Mudgal committee’s report was “erroneous”22, noting that all claims about Dhoni’s and Srinivasan’s remarks toward Meiyappan have “no basis”23. Additionally, the BCCI opposed the Court’s decision for the Mudgal Probe Committee to continue the IPL investigation on the basis that the findings in the Mudgal Committee report were “based on an inquiry conducted by Justice Mudgal himself.”24 The BCCI counsel Sundaram further pointed out that “the recording revealed that the charges against the 13 individuals in the panel’s confidential report had come from only one person: Lalit Modi."25 Thus, the BCCI requested for a new person to head the investigation rather than Mudgal. The Supreme Court “reserved its order about the panel” at the April 29th hearing and has yet to issue an “interim order” regarding the new investigative panel’s composition.26
Knowing that the Supreme Court decided not to proceed with the BCCI probe during the April 22 hearing, the BCCI also proposed that Srinivasan be reinstated to his position as BCCI president because a probe not conducted by the BCCI is an “external probe” and has no affiliation with the BCCI, making Srinivasan’s presence as BCCI president during the IPL investigations legal and unbiased.27
For this request, the BCCI also referred to the contents of the “sealed envelope” submitted by the Mudgal Committee on its finding about the IPL scandal, arguing that because the sealed envelope only contained an allegation against Srinivasan, the Court should allow him to resume his position in the BCCI. The Court did not grant this request; Justice AK Patnaik reportedly commented, "The contents of the sealed cover is not what you think it is.”28
The Court did not decide on the issue regarding Srinivasan representing the BCCI in the ICC during the April 29 hearing. There have been many objections towards Srinivasan representing the BCCI on an international level, one of which was from Aditya Verma (petitioner in this case), whose lawyer, Nalini Chidambaram, voiced their intent to advocate for barring Srinivasan as the BCCI representative in the ICC.29 However, there has been no formal decision released from the Supreme Court.
The IPL spot-fixing and betting case hearings will continue in September after all investigations have concluded.
According to an article in The Hindu, the Tamil Nadu government claimed that the suspended IPS officer Sampath Kumar’s allegations relating to the IPL scandal are “false and baseless”.30 It appears that Kumar made “scathing allegations against the Tamil Nadu Police without impleading the State of Tamil Nadu.”31 Tamil Nadu further claim that the Mudgal Probe Committee did not correctly depose Kumar, in order for him “to escape from the clutches of law.”32
Kumar’s deposition was included in the probe report submitted on February 10 to the Supreme Court.33 The Tamil Nadu Police subsequently suspended Kumar in February34 for “extracting a bribe from cricket bookies who operated in Chennai.”35
Kumar’s role in the IPL case was highlighted when his statement, on Utham Jain (aka Kitty) accusing India captain MS Dhoni, was accepted into court. Tamil Nadu Police denied that Kumar was a part of their investigation team and further explained that Kitty had not been questioned at the Q-Branch, which Kumar was a part of, thus there was no “interrogation report.”36
There has yet to be a clear statement from the Supreme Court on this new development, regarding Kumar’s deposition.
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- Tags: Anti-Corruption | Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) | Cricket | India | Indian Premier League | Match-Fixing
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About the Author
Manali is the COO at LawInSport and executive contributor of the editorial board for LawInSport. She holds an LLM in Sports Law from Nottingham Law School (Nottingham Trent University).