Further trouble is in store for the BCCI in the IPL spot-fixing and betting scandal as the Supreme Court on Friday asked Justice Mukul Mudgal to conduct probe against the 13 people, including cricketers and administrators, named in a sealed envelope. Justice Mudgal will be assisted by a group of investigators led by senior IPS officer BB Mishra. The panel has been asked to submit its report by August end.
The two-man bench of Justice Patnaik and Justice F M Ibrahim Kalifullah in its order also allowed L Nageswara Rao and Nilay Dutta to be part of the investigation while agreeing to Justice Mudgal's suggestion by allowing three senior police officers from Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai to assist the panel.
Justice Mudgal, after the last hearing in the IPL spot-fixing and betting case, had though asked SC for retired special director of CBI ML Sharma to be part of the panel. However, the top court entrusted Mishra with the job.
Regarding Justice Mudgal's request of assistance from a former cricketer of repute, the court left it to Mudgal committee to choose in consultation with Mishra.
The SC has given the new probe panel all the powers to probe, search and seize relevant documents and record evidence. The report will be submitted in another sealed envelope.
SC's order also stated that "all concerned persons, including the BCCI, Mr. N Srinivasan and the cricket players," should co-operate in the probe. The court also empowered the committee that "in case of difficulty," it can "apply for necessary orders for the purpose of completing the investigation."
As compenstion for their work, the chairman of the probe committee and other members will get Rs. 1 lakh for each working day, while all other expenses will have to be borne by the BCCI.
Earlier this month, the country's apex court had reserved its order on the formation of new panel headed by Justice Mudgal, while the BCCI called the findings submitted so far as erroneous.
BCCI, on its part, had asked for a fresh probe and reinstatement of ousted N Srinivasan as the board's president. While calling the findings of the previous Mudgal panel - also comprising eminent lawyers L Nageshwar Rao and Nilay Dutta - as erroneous, the BCCI had also contended that nowhere in the deposition transcript did India and Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni and Srinivasan say that for former CSK Team Principal Gurunath Meiyappan was just a cricket enthusiast.
All that happened after SC rejected the three-man panel proposed by the BCCI, which included former India captain Ravi Shastri, CBI director RK Raghavan and former Calcutta High Court chief Justice JN Patel, following objection by the petitioner and Cricket Association of Bihar chief Aditya Verma.
The Mudgal committee was set up by the court in October 2013 to probe the spot-fixing allegations, which surfaced during the sixth season of IPL last May.
Here's the complete Supreme Court order:
1. 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.
2. In the written note submitted by Mr. Gopal Subramanium appearing for the Justice Mudgal Committee, it is suggested that the Justice Mudgal Committee be assisted in the investigation by the following persons:
(i) Shri M.L. Sharma, IPS (Retired); (ii) An officer from Mumbai Police (preferably not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police); (iii) An officer from Chennai Police (preferably not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police); (iv) An officer from Delhi Police (preferably not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police); and (v) A former cricketer of repute and integrity.
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 (Retired), 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 other officers from Mumbai Police, Chennai Police and Delhi Police and a former cricketer of repute and integrity mentioned against serial Nos. (ii) to (iv) above will be chosen by the Justice Mudgal Committee in consultation with Shri B.B. Mishra.
3. 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. All concerned persons including the BCCI, Mr. N. Srinivasan and the cricket players will co- operate with the investigation in all respects. In case of any difficulty, the Justice Mudgal Committee may apply to this 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.
4. As directed in our earlier order dated 08.10.2013, the BCCI will bear all the expenses of travel, boarding and lodging of the Chairman and Members of the Justice Mudgal Committee as well as Shri B.B. Mishra and other officers of the investigation team. The Chairman and Members of the Committee will also be entitled to fees of Rupees One lakh per working day from the BCCI. The Central Government as well as the concerned State Governments will continue to pay the salary and other allowances to be paid to Shri B.B. Mishra and to all other officers of the team of investigation and the BCCI will reimburse the appropriate Government accordingly. The cricketer who is included in the team of investigation will also be entitled to fees of Rupees One lakh per working day from the BCCI apart from expenses of travel, boarding and lodging.
5. The matters will be listed in first week of September, 2014 for further hearing before the appropriate Bench. In the meanwhile, Mr. Sunil Gavaskar and Mr. Shivlal Yadav will continue to exercise the powers of the President of the BCCI as per the order dated 28.03.2014 of this Court.