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Pawar: Justice Patel must disclose links with Shivlal

- Shastri’s contract with bcci may raise questions: former chief
Sharad Pawar,Justice JN Patel

Mumbai: Former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief Sharad Pawar wants Justice (retd) Jai Narayan Patel, who is part of a three-member probe panel set up by the BCCI to investigate the IPL corruption scandal, to come clean on his reported links with the board’s interim president Shivlal Yadav.

He also deprecated the presence of former India captain Ravi Shastri on the inquiry committee, citing conflict of interest.

“I think Justice Patel should definitely disclose if he is related to Shivlal Yadav.

“If not, then the BCCI should clarify the issue and should not allow such discussions,” Pawar said.

The names of the former chief justice of the Calcutta High Court, Shastri and former CBI director R K Raghavan were approved by the BCCI members at an emergent working committee meeting here on Sunday.

Their names would be submitted to the Supreme Court for its approval. The case related to betting and spot fixing in IPL is being heard at the apex court and the next hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

The Supreme Court had directed the BCCI on April 16 to suggest names of people who would conduct a “fair probe” into the IPL VI spot-fixing and betting scandal.

The apex court is expected to consider the suggestion by the BCCI and pass orders on the future course of the probe.

“I don’t know him (Justice Patel) personally, but I think it is his duty to disclose if this news (information) is correct,” Pawar said.

“This morning, I got a call a BCCI member regarding Justice Patel. I know he was a very upright judge… But this issue I was not aware of.

“Somebody rang me up from Andhra Pradesh this morning, saying that BCCI’s interim president Shivlal Yadav and Patel are close relatives. They are brothers-in-law or something like that. I don’t know.

“If that is correct, then people will judge.

“Generally, I have seen that if a judge has to hear a case which is being argued by a lawyer who is close to him, he normally recuses himself,” Pawar said.

“I am sure, knowing Justice Patel’s reputation, he will also do the right thing,” he added.

Pawar, also a former president of the ICC, questioned the eligibility of Shastri to be a member of the probe panel. He cited conflict of interest as the player-turned-commentator has a financial contract with the BCCI.

“Ravi Shastri was a good player. In fact, when I was the BCCI chief (2005-08), we signed a contract with him and Sunil Gavaskar.

:He has a financial contract with the BCCI. The question can be raised that how someone, who has a contract with the BCCI, be part of a inquiry committee,” he said.

“I have no reservations about Shastri’s integrity, his honesty. But definitely, the issue can be raised. And that is why, a sensible person will try to stay away from the probe panel.”

Asked if Shastri should dissociate himself from the panel, Pawar said: “He has a financial contract (with the BCCI). That is not the case with Justice Patel.”

On allegations against former IPL chief Lalit Modi and Narayanswamy Srinivasan, who has been ordered by the Supreme Court to step down from the BCCI’s presidentship while the IPL probe is on, Pawar said: “I don’t think Modi has done any harm.

“Unfortunately, about Srinivasan, I haven’t got any details. But whatever action has been taken recently, has essentially been taken by the judiciary.

“It was the Supreme Court which said that ‘A’ should not be there and that ‘B’ should be there.

“There were certain complaints and the judiciary felt that these complaints should be investigated,” Pawar said.

Pawar was all praise for Srinivasan’s predecessor Shashank Manohar, who was once part of the NCP chief’s core team that overthrew Jagmohan Dalmiya as BCCI president.

“Manohar is a good administrator. He has no personal agenda. I accept that whatever he says will always be in the interest of the game.

“He was very straightforward and transparent as an administrator,” he said.

The IPL, which started in 2008 when Pawar was the BCCI chief, has seen various problems till date.

But Pawar remains upbeat about the future of the cash-rich tournament.

“I think the IPL is doing well… It is a product developed by India, by the BCCI when I was its president,” Pawar said.

“The IPL has been accepted by the global cricketing community and all cricket-playing countries are part of it. It is followed not only in India but abroad too,” he said, adding: “This is the great contribution of Indian cricket and the BCCI.”