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Hearing deferred till March 25, which is World Twenty20 time

- BCCI’s admission on Gurunath in submission before SC
Narayanswamy Srinivasan

Calcutta: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has, in its submission before the Supreme Court, accepted that the operational rules governing the IPL would apply to Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of president Narayanswamy Srinivasan.

It’s a significant admission, given that Srinivasan had claimed his son-in-law was no more than an enthusiast. That outrageous claim was made last May, days after the IPL was rocked by scandals.

But much water has flown down the Adyar and the Cooum since.

Indeed, last month, the Justice (retd) Mukul Mudgal probe committee indicted Meiyappan for betting and passing on information. It didn’t, however, reach a conclusion on the possibility of him having fixed matches involving the Chennai Super Kings.

The Justice Mudgal committee had been appointed by the Supreme Court on a petition filed by the Cricket Association of Bihar, which has made life miserable for Srinivasan.

On Friday, the Supreme Court adjourned hearing on the BCCI and IPL-related petition, as Justices A.K. Patnaik and Ibrahim Kalifullah needed time to go through the submission. Hearing resumes on March 25.

The submission, a copy of which is with The Telegraph, covers 35 pages.

In the “conclusion” section, the submission includes the following: “The BCCI agrees that the operational rules would apply against the 3rd respondent (Meiyappan)... Sanctions contemplated by the operational rules would follow, post enquiry, as per law.”

At the very least, Meiyappan’s actions have tarnished the image of the IPL and hurt the game itself.

The “conclusion” section has highlighted the fact that the Justice Mudgal committee submitted two reports — one by Justice Mudgal and L. Nageswar Rao (84 pages); the other by Nilay Dutta, which contains a page more.

At one point, the BCCI has placed on record that it would “cooperate” with “any further probe or investigation, if ordered.”

Not that it has a choice.

Justice Mudgal and his colleagues have made a number of recommendations, aimed at cleaning up the IPL. Almost 28 of the 35 pages of the BCCI’s submission deal with its response to those recommendations.

The BCCI is game where a majority of the recommendations are concerned, but some are being referred to for legal opinion, while a few have been rejected outright.

Notably, the one calling for the IPL to be made into a “stand-alone commercial entity” with “independent professional directors.”

Srinivasan and his men just don’t want to loosen their hold on the money-spinner.

Among the recommendations accepted are:

• Assessing/verifying the credibility of franchise owners (in the future, it seems);

• Creating an Integrity Unit, comprising former India captains Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble. V.V.S. Laxman too;

• Sharing the database of fixers, bookies etc. with, among others, players and match officials;

• Assigning a confidential email address for players to report “unwanted” approaches;

• Setting up of a dedicated fund for the development of sophisticated investigating machinery;

• A complete ban on post-match parties and “other parties,” organised by private individuals and sponsors;

• Players to be asked to disclose details of their agents.

According to the submission, “in national interest,” the BCCI is for the enactment of a substantive law (for all sport) to curb betting, gambling and fixing.

The BCCI, meanwhile, has engaged the services of R.K. Raghavan, a former director of the CBI, to take forward the implementation of some of the recommendations of the Justice Mudgal committee.

Among other things, Raghavan’s advice has been sought on adopting a proactive approach, rather than a reactive one, towards investigating “sporting fraud.”

Much has to be done.

Footnote: Many in the BCCI are “disturbed” that the next hearing, on March 25, is during the World T20, in Bangladesh. Players are bound to get distracted, particularly the five (Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohit Sharma) from the Super Kings’ line-up.