The Mudgal committee wants to question more players in connection with the IPL 2013 betting and spot-fixing scandal © AFP (Representational image)
The Mudgal committee wants to question more players in connection with the IPL 2013 betting and spot-fixing scandal © AFP (Representational image)

By Chander Shekhar Luthra

Mumbai: Aug 21, 2014

With the August 31 deadline fast approaching for the Justice Mukul Mudgal committee to investigate the contents of the sealed envelope containing 13 names of players and officials for their wrongdoing in the Indian Premier League (IPL), there is every possibility that it will ask for an extension from the Supreme Court in order to question Team India players after they return from England after September 7.

Sources said, “There are more players under the radar and are likely to be questioned in the next few days. These names are of the players which came up after the interrogation of a group of bookies.”

DNA has reliably learnt that already some of the cricketers’ names have been shortlisted by the panel for questioning after September 7. This could be a bad news for a couple of players as they have been facing heat on the field in England. “We’ve shortlisted a few names that are likely to be called for questioning. Some are in India right now and some will come back after the England series,” said the source.

But when asked why questioning of players who are available right now had not been done, DNA was told that “it is basically not to create any panic in the minds of players doing their national duty in England. “We don’t want to divert any player’s attention during any ongoing series. They should be able to completely focus on their job in England. It will only be after September 7 that we would call some of those to take our investigation forward,” said the source.

What’s in store?

The delay in submitting the report simply means that this could have implications on the BCCI Annual General Meeting, which is slated to be held in the last week of September. A top Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official told DNA that the Srinivasan camp is working overtime to secure him another term as president even if the investigation is pending.

“A lot will now depend on the ruling party at the Centre because there are three government representatives’ votes — Railways, Universities and Services — in BCCI,” adding, “Himachal Pradesh (Anurag Thakur), Punjab (IS Bindra) and Delhi (Sneh Bansal) can surely upset Srinivasan’s calculation because Sharad Pawar and Shashank Manohar camp have their own committed votes,” the official added.

This has prompted Srinivasan to frequently visit the corridors of power in Delhi. In fact, he met former BCCI vice president and BJP’s top leader and finance minister Arun Jaitley on several occasions in recent months. The role of BJP’s newly-elected president Amit Shah, who is also Gujarat Cricket Association president, would also be very important in instructing some of the other friendly state cricket associations in the run-up to the elections.

“The new sports minister has already laid down his government’s strategy to tame BCCI by bringing it under the Right to Information (RTI) preview. And don’t forget that given BCCI’s stature, any ruling party would love to have its own member as its ruler. Since the Parliament session was on till August 14, all BJP and its allies involved in cricket administration hardly got any time to form a strategy,” said the BCCI official.

This indicates that given the delay by the Justice Mudgal committee to file its report would give the Srinivasan camp a space to breathe easy till elections, but his opposition camp would also not leave any stone unturned to displace him from the top post!

Complete coverage of Mudgal committee’s IPL spot-fixing probe here

(Chander Shekhar Luthra is a staffer with DNA. The above news has been republished with permission from DNA, where it first appeared)