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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is likely to face the heat as the Supreme Court hears the Mudgal Commission Report on the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013 betting and spot-fixing controversy. Nishad Pai Vaidya revisits some of the previous events.
The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013 spot-fixing and betting controversy is set to witness a new turn on March 27 when the Supreme Court resumes the hearing on the Mudgal report. On March 25 Supreme Court had asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President N Srinivasan to resign from his post so that a fair investigation can be carried out. Yet, Srinivasan has not backed down and continues to remain staunch.
As this drama unfolds in Delhi, let us revisit the important events in this whole controversy:
May 16, 2013
On a warm Thursday morning, India woke up to the news that three Rajasthan Royals players, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila were arrested on charges of spot-fixing. The Delhi Police apprehended them in Mumbai after their side’s game against Mumbai Indians the previous night. It was alleged that the players had agreed to concede a certain amount of runs in their overs during a few games in the IPL 2013.
In a press conference, Delhi Police also showed videos of the overs where the bowlers are said to have agreed to give away those runs. At the same time, Amit Singh, the former Rajasthan player was also arrested on allegations of being a bookie. A few days later, Baburao Yadav, a former Vidharba player was also arrested. The news was quite a shock-wave and the biggest controversy to hit Indian cricket since the match-fixing scandal in 2000. BCCI suspended the three players with immediate effect.
May 21, 2013
Vindoo Dara Singh, the Bollywood actor was arrested for alleged connection with bookies. The Mumbai Police gradually got into the act and tries to crackdown on bookies.
May 23, 2013
As the days progressed, things became murkier. The Mumbai Police summoned Gurunath Meiyappan, a familiar figure at the Chennai Super Kings (CSK), as there were allegations of him maintaining links with bookies. It was big news as Meiyappan was often seen at the Chennai dug-out alongside the players. His Twitter handle then attributed him as the ‘Team Principal.’
May 24, 2013
Meiyappan appeared in front of the Mumbai Police and was arrested shortly afterwards as they found that he could be detained for their investigations. Even after his son-in-law Meiyappan’s arrest, Srinivasan unfazed. India Cements deny that Meiyappan was an owner. They also say that he wasn’t a team principal either. Srininvasan brushed off media pressure by saying Meiyappan was nothing more than an ‘enthusiast’. Meiyappan was later suspended by BCCI.
June 2, 2013
After a meeting of the big-wigs of BCCI, it was decided that N Srinivasan would “step aside” while the investigations are on. BCCI had earlier appointed a committee to look into the offences. The committee included two retired judges, T Jayaram Chowta and T Balasubramainan, to unravel the allegations made against the franchises.
Jun 6, 2013
Delhi Police claimed that Raj Kundra, the Rajasthan Royals owner, had confessed to betting. A few days later the IPL suspended him as the inquiry continued. The committee headed by Chowta took cognizance of this.
Jun 11, 2013
Sreesanth and Chavan were released from prison after they were granted bail by a court in Delhi. Around the same time, Ravi Sawani, BCCI’s Anti-Corruption and Security officer, submitted his interim report to the board.
July 28, 2013
The Chowta-Subramaniam Commission announced that it had found no wrongdoing on the part of the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals. BCCI Vice-President Nirajan Shah told the media: “There is no evidence of any wrongdoing found by the judges against Raj Kundra, India Cements and Rajasthan Royals. The report will now be forwarded to the IPL Governing Council which will take a final decision when it meets on August 2 in New Delhi.”
However, there was not much clarity on Meiyappan’s fate then. This report did cause a huge outcry in the media with Jaywant Lele calling it an eyewash. N Srinivasan came back as the President of BCCI.
July 30, 2013
Aditya Verma, the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) chief filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court against BCCI. It is a detailed petition that tries to bring to light numerous matters. But more importantly, the Bombay High Court said that the probe panel of the two retired judges was unconstitutional according to the provisions of BCCI’s constitution.
August 5, 2013
BCCI filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court of India against the decision of the Bombay High Court. BCCI contended that they are private entity and as a result, the High Court’s verdict did not hold true. A couple of days later the Supreme Court admitted it.
August 30, 2013
The Supreme Court sent out notices to Rajasthan Royals, India Cements and BCCI. The CAB had filed an appeal on BCCI act of refraining from constituting another probe panel. So, with regards to the same, the notices were issued.
September 9, 2013
Chandila was finally granted bail. He was the solitary accused player who had remained in custody for a significantly long time. What was more astonishing was the fact that Sawani could not speak to him and had to submit his final report in the meanwhile.
September 13, 2013
BCCI announced the punishments for the accused players. Sreesanth and Chavan were banned for life. Amit Singh was banned for five years. Surprisingly, Siddharth Trivedi, the Rajasthan Royals player who had helped in the investigation got suspended for a year. His offence was that he did not report an approach. Meanwhile, Harmeet Singh was in the clear.
September 29, 2013
The Supreme Court of India permitted Srinivasan to contest BCCI elections. However, there was a tricky condition whereby he wasn’t allowed to take control until the pendency of the proceedings in the matter.
October 7, 2014
The Supreme Court of India asked Justice Mukul Mudgal to lead a commission to look into the IPL spot-fixing and betting controversy. The IPL Probe Commission thereby began. The commission comprised of N Nageshwar Rao, Nilay Dutta and Mudgal himself. They went on an investigation for a few months, meeting current and former players, administrators, journalists and other individuals connected with the game.
February 10, 2014
The panel submitted its report to the Supreme Court of India. It mentioned that Meiyappan had been involved in betting. The report did not spare Raj Kundra either. However, the biggest shockwave it sent out was the alleged involvement of a few India players, one of whom was a part of the 2011 World Cup squad and was supposedly a part of the “current team.” The names were thereby concealed in an envelope was scheduled to be opened on March 7, when the report would have come up for hearing.
March 7, 2014
BCCI filed an affidavit finally admitting that Meiyappan was indeed a part of Chennai as an official. However, it said that this did not entail the expulsion of the Chennai Super Kings under the franchise agreement as it talked about the wrongdoings of an “owner” and not an official. At the same time, it asked the court to not open the envelope. The Supreme Court adjourned the matter until March 25.
March 25, 2014
The Supreme Court lashed out at Srinivasan asking him why he had been holding on to his chair. It gave him an ultimatum to step down as BCCI president as a fair investigation into the issues couldn’t be carried out with Srinivasan in power. The Supreme Court observed: “We don’t like to damage people’s reputation but unless the BCCI President steps down, no fair investigation can be done. Why is he sticking to the chair? It is nauseating.” The Supreme Court eventually gave Srinivasan two days to take a decision.
March 26, 2014
N Srinivasan remains adamant even as the pressure on him increases with the observation of the Apex Court.
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