New Delhi: Accusing the arbitrator of bias, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Tuesday asked the Delhi High Court to reverse the Justice J. K. Mehra award setting aside the five-year ban imposed on Ajay Jadeja on charges of involvement in match-fixing.
Initiating arguments on the BCCI’s petition challenging the award, counsel C. S. Vaidyanathan termed the award a “perverse finding” of a biased arbitrator, who ignored many an objection raised by the country’s apex cricket body.
Vaidyanathan specifically mentioned how the arbitrator disallowed cross-examination of Jadeja on his telephone calls, printouts of which were already on record. He also alleged that the request for recall of Jadeja for further cross-examination was simply rejected without any reason in violation of principles of natural justice.
On Justice Mehra terming former CBI director K. Madhavan’s report as contrary to principles of natural justice, the BCCI counsel said Jadeja was given full hearing by the disciplinary action committee before the ban was imposed on him on December 5, 2000 and clarified that Madhavan’s role was only to investigate and not to take any action.
Justice Mehra, who was appointed as an arbitrator by the High Court, had given the ruling in Jadeja’s favour on the ban as he found Madhavan’s report to be “illegal and against the principles of natural justice”.
He also set aside the findings of the disciplinary committee.
The BCCI challenged the award on April 25 last, just two days before it was to become binding. The January 27 award would have become final on April 27 at the expiry of the 90-day statutory period, had it gone unchallenged.
Earlier, Justice Sarin had issued notices to Jadeja, Madhavan and members of disciplinary committee on May 16 last and asked them to file their replies by Tuesday.
At the very outset, Jadeja’s counsel P. P. Malhotra showed certain records of a hotel in New Delhi and tried to convince the court that BCCI counsel had sought adjournments while being in the capital and tried to vitiate the proceedings.
However, the court ignored it and asked the BCCI counsel to proceed with his objections to the award.
The court asked Vaidyanathan to file a brief synopsis of his submissions within a week and fixed July 15 for further hearing. It also asked Malhotra to file similar synopsis within a week of receipt of BCCI’s written submissions.
Jadeja had approached the High Court on February 2, 2001 challenging the BCCI order imposed on the basis of Madhavan committee recommendations following a preliminary report by CBI indicting both Jadeja and former captain Mohammed Azharuddin.