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Shashank is set for a moral victory

Shashank Manohar

Calcutta: Justices Ananga Kumar Patnaik and Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla haven’t passed an order as yet, but it’s almost certain that Justice (retd) Mukul Mudgal and his panel will again take centre stage.

L. Nageswar Rao and Nilay Dutta completed the Justice Mudgal panel, which has nailed Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of Narayanswamy Srinivasan, and sent many scurrying for cover.

The order is expected next Tuesday and if it reflects the current mood of the Supreme Court, then it would be a moral victory for Shashank Manohar, immediate past president of the Board.

According to a top source of The Telegraph, Justice Mudgal had actually been Manohar’s pick to head the Board’s probe panel into IPL-related issues.

Manohar (and Jagmohan Dalmiya’s) choice was, however, vetoed by Srinivasan’s men during “discussions” immediately before the emergent meeting of the working committee, in Mumbai, on Sunday.

Dalmiya, another former president of the Board, had been entrusted with the task of interacting with Srinivasan’s men. Later, Manohar, who came out of retirement, himself took charge.

Srinivasan has effectively been suspended as the Board president, a fall out of the stunning report and a sealed cover given to the apex court by the Justice Mudgal panel.

Initially, the other names proposed by Manohar were of Somnath Chatterjee and Rao.

Srinivasan’s men, however, rejected all three before agreeing to Justice (retd) Jai Narayan Patel, whose name was also put forward by Manohar.

That was the only ‘concession’ made by Srinivasan’s men, something which may come back to haunt them.

With the Board’s probe panel set to be rejected by the Supreme Court, the once spotless and much respected institution is again about to have egg on its face.

All because one man doesn’t want to let go his hold and there are enough sycophants, from South Zone and beyond, to do his bidding.

Last Wednesday, Justices Patnaik and Kalifulla gave the Board an opportunity to take the path to redemption.

The Board, however, stuck to the (disaster-inviting) course set by Srinivasan. Not officially, but from behind the scenes.

One isn’t casting aspersions on either former India captain Ravi Shastri or R.K. Raghavan, a former director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, but they’re seen as Srinivasan’s nominees.

Not so Justice Patel, but he’s the brother-in-law of the Board’s interim president (non-IPL), Shivlal Yadav.

It’s not just with Shastri, there’s a conflict of interest with regard to Raghavan as well.

“Raghavan appeared as a witness before the Justice Mudgal panel. How can he, then, be a judge in the same case? Also, the Board has consulted him on the report, so he shouldn’t have been appointed. Lastly, he runs a club/or is associated with a club affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association, which is headed by Srinivasan...

“There’s a definite conflict of interest on three counts,” another top source revealed.

The apex court, clearly, appears to have taken note of everything. Kudos to Justices Patnaik and Kalifulla, who’ve sent out a message that all isn’t lost.