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The Mudgal committee report on the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing and betting controversy comes up before the Apex Court on March 25 after it was adjourned earlier this month. Nishad Pai Vaidya looks at some of the key issues before the Supreme Court of India comes out with the verdict.
On March 7, 2014, Indian cricket avoided a potential blow. The Supreme Court of India had adjourned the hearing of the Mudgal Committee report on the spot-fixing and betting controversy until March 25. Among other issues, the biggest talking point was that envelope shrouded in mystery — one that supposedly contains names of Indian cricketers said to be involved in those misdemeanours. According to the report, one of those players was a part of the ICC World Cup 2011 squad and a member of the current team. For how long can Indian cricket sit on a ticking time bomb? It is likely to explode on its face sooner or later.
But, in the midst of all this, one does not know whether that player is a part of the present Indian team. If he is, it could have severe repercussions on India’s campaign at the ICC World T20 2014. Can a player continue in the tournament when the highest legal authority of his land pulls him up for offences against the spirit of the game? Also, will the Supreme Court think twice before revealing the names if the player is in the current Indian side? A country’s sporting image could be shamed when a player is competing in an ongoing world tournament.
That is where various dynamics come into play when the matter comes up before the Supreme Court for the second time this month. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is also preparing to host the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the first leg of which is to be held being in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). There are a lot of stakes involved with this date being set very close to the tournament. The future of one franchise, which happens to be the most successful in the tournament, is on the line.
For once though, the BCCI admitted that Gurunath Meiyappan had been a part of the Chennai Super Kings. But, in their affidavit, they mentioned that he was an “official” and not an “owner.” That, of course, is in a bid to save Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for the expulsion clause for wrongdoing committed by a franchise only applies to an owner. Firstly, there was a hilarious cover-up with Meiyappan being termed an “enthusiast”, with no connection with the franchise. Would the Supreme Court buy this explanation from the BCCI?
With all these issues hovering around, will the Supreme Court commence the hearing? Or can we expect another adjournment? Here is another day where Indian cricket waits nervously.
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