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Two ex-presidents smell fixing

Excerpts from Justice Mudgal committee report follow:

The committee, while drawing its inferences in relation to this issue, is fully aware and conscious that there are criminal cases pending against (Gurunath) Meiyappan and he being an accused is entitled to a fair trial.

An opportunity was given to Meiyappan to appear before the committee, to ensure he was given a reasonable opportunity of being heard. However, he choose to submit a letter….. (The letter from Meiyappan’s advocate said “he has been advised to maintain silence and thus is not in a position to depose before you till the trial in above prosecution is fully complete”.)

Due to the said stand taken by Meiyappan, it was difficult for the committee to elicit any response from Mr. Meiyappan in relation to other issues related to the terms of reference, though not directly related to betting and fixing, such as his role and involvement in Chennai Super Kings.

The committee has carefully gone through the FIR, charge sheet filed by Mumbai police… the transcripts of telephone recordings between Mr Meiyappan and Mr Vindoo Dara Singh. The committee has also sought to elicit the views of other persons who deposed before them on the said issue and has come to the following inference:-

A. That, Mr Meiyappan was in regular touch with bookies and punters.

B. That, there are several calls between Mr Meiyappan and Mr Vindoo Dara Singh, who was a punter himself and Mr Singh was in very close proximity with several other bookies, as is evident from the telephonic transcripts produced by Mumbai police.

C. Delhi police also stated that Mr Ramesh Vyas and Jupiter were acting for Vindoo Dara Singh who was also placing bets for certain IPL stakeholders and actors, which would include Mr Meiyappan.

D. That, M. Meiyappan was in close proximity with Mr Vikram Agarwal who is a hotelier and an alleged punter operating from Chennai, as is evident from the Call Record Details produced by Chennai Police in Crime No 1 of 2013, registered by the CBCID Branch.

E. That, Mr Meiyappan would regularly place bets in IPL matches both in favour of his team (i.e. CSK) and against his team. The said fact is clearly established from the various call records as produced by Mumbai police.

F. That, Mr Meiyappan would place bets through Mr Vindoo Dara Singh and such bets were even placed during the course of an IPL match, as is evident from transcripts produced by Mumbai police.

G. One such instance is when Mr. Meiyappan made certain predictions to Mr. Singh, regarding the score that would be scored in a match between CSK and RR (Rajasthan Royals) that was held on 12th of May 2013 in Jaipur. Mr Meiyappan had predicted a score of 130-140 runs and the said prediction happened to be close to the actual score of 141 runs scored by CSK. However, the committee is aware that such conversation per-se would not mean Mr Meiyappan was involved in fixing a match.

The fact that Mr Meiyappan had knowledge of or was in position to easily access sensitive team information, team strategies, knowledge about match conditions, etc., which knowledge/ information was otherwise outside the preview of an ordinary person following the game of cricket.

However, the committee feels that there is enough information available on record to indicate that a further investigation is required in respect of the match held at Jaipur, between Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings on the 12.5.2013….

However, the committee is not in a position to render any conclusive finding as to whether Mr. Meiyappan was involved in match fixing or spot fixing. Giving any finding as regards to fixing would mean that Mr Meiyappan, had to have acted in connivance with a particular player/s. Since, the committee has nothing on record to suggest the involvement of any player acting on the behest of Mr Meiyappan, the committee refrains from making any finding on his alleged involvement in spot/match fixing.

However, the committee would like to state that there is a general perception amongst many persons who deposed before the committee, that matches involving CSK and other IPL teams were fixed and required through investigation. The said observations were in fact made by 2 former presidents of BCCI. However, since it is impossible for this committee to make a roving enquiry into all matches, the committee is of the view that the said issue has to be taken up by concerned investigating agencies, if any specific allegation / leads are made available to them.

Conflict of interest

It was brought to the notice of the committee that there was an amendment to Rule 6.4.2, which enabled BCCI officials to own IPL teams.

The committee in the interest of the game sought to ascertain as to how this amendment came about and posed queries in this regard to:-

A. Mr Chirayu Amin, expressed surprise on the amendment of Rule 6.4.2, which enabled BCCI officials to own teams. He stated that as far as he could recall there was no discussion on the amendment of the original rule.

B. On the condition of anonymity a former administrator told us that that the decision to amend Rule 6.2.4 of allowing the BCCI administrators to own teams was taken during the presidency of Mr Sharad Pawar. This was done at the behest of Mr Lalit Modi who was not being able to get franchises.

C. Mr I.S. Bindra informed us that that the resolution that allowed the amendment of the BCCI regulations allowing BCCI administrators to own team was actually done in a meeting where a committee under Mr Shashank Manohar and Mr Shah was constituted to look into issues of anti-racism. Mr Bindra future told us that the minutes of the AGM allowing the administrators to own teams was backdated whilst granting power to this committee to look into amendment of the BCCI regulations.

D. Various persons who deposed before the Committee, including Mr Muthia (former BCCI President) gave a detailed note on conflict of interest, opined that a BCCI administrator should not be allowed to own a team or have commercial interest related to BCCI, as that gives rise to a serious issue of conflict of interest. A few persons went to the extent of saying that the match fixing and spot fixing allegations and the process followed in its investigation clearly highlight how a conflict of interest can harm the game.

E. Many senior journalists and persons of respect stated before us, that the issue of conflict in so far as Mr N. Srinivasan, being the director of India Cements, which owns CSK and his role as the President of BCCI is a cause for serious conflict of interest.

PROBE PROGRESS

How one panel was quashed and another formed

● The BCCI had initially formed a probe panel of two retired judges, R. Balasubramaniam and Jayaram Chowta, who gave a clean chit to Gurunath Meiyappan,
CSK and Raj Kundra.

● On July 30 last year, Bombay High Court quashed the panel as “illegal” on a plea from the Cricket Association of Bihar that the committee had been formed at BCCI chief N. Srinivasan’s behest. The BCCI appealed in the apex court.

● On August 7, the apex court refused to stay the high court order.

● On October 7, the apex court named the three-member panel that gave its report on February 10, 2014.