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Mudgal panel to probe 13
- SC orders just what Srini didn’t want

Narayanswamy Srinivasan

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday formally entrusted the three-member Justice Mukul Mudgal commission to conduct further probe into the IPL betting/spot-fixing scandal, involving Narayanswamy Srinivasan and 12 others against whom they had submitted a sealed envelope containing unsubstantiated allegations.

A bench of Justices A. K. Patnaik and Ibrahim Kalifulla while entrusting further probe to the Mudgal panel, also appointed deputy director general of the Narcotics Control Bureau B. B. Misra to head the police investigation wing attached to the panel with powers to conduct search/seizures, but clarified that the cops would have no power to arrest.

The bench asked the panel to submit its report by the end of August and posted the matter for further hearing to September.

“We are of the considered opinion that the allegations against the 13 persons including Mr. N. Srinivasan mentioned in the report submitted in the sealed cover should be investigated into by the Justice Mudgal committee and the team of investigators because if a new probe committee is entrusted to inquire into the allegations, there is likelihood of the allegations being leaked to the public and such leakage will damage the reputation of the 13 persons beyond repair,”Justice Patnaik wrote in his judgement.

The apex court accepted the objections of the BCCI that IPS officer M. L. Sharma should not be part of the investigation team and accordingly appointed Misra in his place.

“In view of objections made on behalf of the BCCI and Mr. N. Srinivasan, we are of the view that instead of Shri M.L. Sharma, IPS (retd), Shri B.B. Mishra, IPS of the 1983 batch of Assam-Meghalaya cadre, who has a vast experience in investigation including experience in the CBI and who is presently working as deputy director general, Narcotics Control Bureau, New Delhi, should head the investigation team,” the court said.

The bench said other officers from Mumbai Police, Chennai Police and Delhi Police and a former cricketer of repute and integrity will be chosen by the Justice Mudgal Committee in consultation with Misra.

“We further direct that the competent authority of government of India will pass appropriate orders placing the services of Shri B.B. Mishra at the disposal of the Justice Mudgal Committee till completion of the investigation and submission of the report to this Court.

“Shri B.B. Mishra and the other officers of the investigating team will have the powers to investigate, require attendance of witnesses, the power to examine witnesses, the power to search and the power to seize and all other powers necessary for investigation except the power to arrest and the source of these powers of investigation will be this order passed by this Court,” the bench said.

The court hoped all concerned persons including the BCCI, Srinivasan and the cricket players will cooperate with the investigation in all respects. In case of any difficulty, the Justice Mudgal Committee may apply to the apex court for necessary orders for the purpose of completing the investigation.

“After investigation, the report will be filed in this Court by the Justice Mudgal Committee by the end of August, 2014 in a sealed cover and the members of the committee and the investigation team will not reveal anything regarding the investigation to others and the media and will maintain absolute confidentiality,” the bench said.

While directing the matter be listed for further hearing in the month of September, the apex court turned down the plea of BCCI counsel Radha Rangaswamy for submission of the panel report in the first week of August itself as the AGM of the board would take place in September.

The bench further said that Sunil Gavaskar and Shivlal Yadav will continue to exercise the powers of the president of the BCCI as per the order passed by the apex court on March 28.