IPL Scam Probe: Supreme Court Says Lodha Panel Will Consider Looking Into Sealed Envelope

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday left it to a panel headed by former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha to consider the feasibility of opening and looking into the sealed envelope submitted by Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee containing names of some players allegedly involved in IPL spot-fixing.

The apex court said it would be for the three-member panel headed by Justice Lodha, which is considering administrative reforms in BCCI, to take a call on the issue keeping in mind the “image and reputation” of the persons whose names are in the sealed envelope.

“If the Committee wants to look into it without affecting the image and reputation of some persons, it can consider it,” a bench comprising Justices T S Thakur and F M I Kalifulla said while declining to go on its own on the plea of Aditya Verma, Secretary, Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB), seeking handing over of Justice Mudgal Committee’s report, which contains names of some players

The bench said it was for the CAB to make an application before the Committee, also comprising its two former judges, Justices Ashok Bhan and R V Raveendran, which on considering and examining the records of the matter can consider request of the applicant.

“So long as no request comes from Justice Lodha Committee on record, there is no need of passing any order,” the bench said.

When asked by the bench whether Justice Lodha Committee was meeting lawyers and others, senior advocate Nalini Chidambaram, appearing for the CAB, said “they heard wide spectrum of people”.

Then the bench asked “Do you think it will help in bringing reforms in the BCCI? Do you think it will have any impact and will something emerge and help BCCI to come out of its present state of affair?

“Will it change the complexion of the BCCI? Let us see,” the bench said while asking CAB to make an application before the Justice Lodha Committee with its plea.

The bench also accepted the request of the Justice Lodha Committee and extended its term by another five months asking it to complete the ongoing process by December 31.

The CAB claimed that if the entire contents of the third report are not given to the Justice Lodha Committee, the time and effort spent by Justice Mudgal Committee and the probe team would be wasted.

It said even the heavy expenditure incurred by the respective governments will go “totally waste”. The plea had sought a direction to the Supreme Court Registry to hand over to Justice Lodha panel, the first report and full text of Justice Mudgal Committee’s third report which was submitted in the apex court on November 1 last year.

“This is necessary since Justice Lodha Committee has to have the benefit of the full text of the Justice Mudgal Committee report to appreciate the extent of the malaise which has set in the game of cricket so that while suggesting the administrative reforms for BCCI it can suggest measures to ensure that in future the reputation of the game of cricket will not be sullied by any scam.

“If the full text of the third report is not given to the Justice Lodha Committee, the time and effort spent by Justice Mudgal Committee and the investigating team and the heavy expenditure incurred by the respective governments will go totally waste,” the CAB application had said.

It said the probe committee’s final report contains the allegations against the 13 persons including N Srinivasan and the sealed cover was not given to anybody and is lying with the Supreme Court Registry.

“Pursuant to the order of this court, the Justice Lodha Committee has published the first portion of their report on the punishment to be imposed on Gurunath Meiyappan, Raj Kundra and Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals. The committee is considering administrative reforms for BCCI and has sought time till end of December this year to complete it work,” the application said.

The apex court-appointed three-member committee of retired judges headed by Justice Lodha was entrusted the job of further investigating the IPL-6 scandal, including the allegations against the then BCCI COO Sundar Raman.

The Justice Lodha Committee had in July decided the quantum of punishment against ex-BCCI President N Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, who was also a CSK official, and Raj Kundra, co-owner of Rajasthan Royals, who both were held guilty of betting.

With regard to allegations against Sundar Raman, the apex court had said it cannot go “unprobed” and had directed the Justice Lodha Committee to further investigate the averments against him, saying “truth must be brought to light”.

The Justice Lodha Committee has suspended for two years star-studded Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals from the IPL.

Meiyappan, a former Team Principal of India Cements Ltd (ICL)-owned franchise CSK and Kundra, co-owner of Jaipur IPL that runs Rajasthan Royals (RR), were suspended for life from any matches conducted by BCCI.

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