| Ajay Jadeja
Calcutta: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) isn’t alone in challenging arbitrator Justice (retd) J.K.Mehra’s controversy-sparking award in Ajay Jadeja’s favour: Kollaikal Madhavan has (quietly) done just the same.
Justice Mehra, it may be recalled, quashed the BCCI’s five-year ban (for match-fixing) clamped on December 5, 2000. Intriguingly, the Delhi High Court appointed him arbitrator even though the BCCI had suggested somebody as distinguished as Justice (retd) R.S.Pathak, a former Chief Justice of India.
While the BCCI has moved the Delhi High Court, Madhavan has challenged the award in the Madras High Court. Jadeja’s legal team, therefore, has to respond on two fronts.
A former joint-director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Madhavan was commissioner during the BCCI’s match-fixing inquiry. He was appointed by the then president, Dr A.C.Muthiah, best remembered for his tough stand.
Madhavan’s move would probably have still been unnoticed had his lawyer, Dinesh Sharma, not made a statement before Justice Manmohan Sarin (Delhi High Court) during Tuesday’s hearing on the BCCI plea to set aside the award.
The award, of course, threatens to rock Indian cricket in a manner not felt even during the match-fixing inquiry in mid-2000.
“Like the BCCI, I acted on April 25… However, no date for the hearing has been fixed, or else, I would have been informed,” Madhavan told The Telegraph, Friday, when contacted at his New Delhi residence.
Madhavan, though, declined to speak at length: “It’s a legal issue and I wouldn’t like to go into details… But, yes, one decides to challenge when one isn’t convinced with a ruling…”
Incidentally, Justice Mehra had termed Madhavan’s findings as “perverse, contrary to law, against the principles of natural justice and illegal.”
The language left many stunned. In any case, the commissioner was himself guided by the CBI’s sensational (and thorough) match-fixing inquiry.
Justice Mehra’s award, made public on January 27, would have become binding April 27 onwards had the BCCI let it go unchallenged. While Tuesday marked the first day of hearings in the latest Jadeja-chapter, the action now shifts to next week.
Significantly, among other things, the BCCI has accused the arbitrator of being “biased.”
Postscript: When the award was announced, Jadeja’s lawyer (Vineet Malhotra) had a string of allegations against Madhavan — included was the charge that he “never disclosed” he was a lawyer of the BCCI.
That, to say the least, is amusing.
After all, one has seen a copy of Madhavan’s letter (November 6, 2000) asking Jadeja to appear before him in Chennai on November 12, 2000. The letterhead isn’t ambiguous: ‘K.Madhavan, Commissioner and Legal Advisor, BCCI’.
How could Jadeja (and his lawyer) have missed that'