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RAISING the pitch in its bid to address allegations of corruption plaguing the IPL, the Supreme Court Tuesday issued an ultimatum to the BCCI and asked it to remove its President N Srinivasan from his post to ensure a fair probe in the case and make certain that cricket remains clean.
Indicating that its probe panel had stumbled upon traces of match-fixing and spot-fixing in the domestic T20 league besides betting, the apex court bench of Justices A K Patnaik and F M I Kalifulla made it clear to the cricket board that the court would be constrained to pass a formal order if Srinivasan did not step down on his own.
“We feel that unless the President of the BCCI steps down, no fair decision can be taken. Why is Mr Srinivasan sticking to his chair? It is nauseating. Courts after courts have said he should step down...Srinivasan should step down else we will pass a verdict,” said the bench, referring to “very serious” facts disclosed by a confidential report submitted by the court-appointed probe panel.
The panel has held Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan guilty of betting and passing on team information during IPL matches last year. It also said the concerns about Srinivasan’s conflict of interest were “serious” and may have “large-scale ramifications on the functioning of cricket”.
The panel had also submitted another report in a sealed cover with some details, it said, may require the bench’s consideration.
As the hearing on the report began, BCCI counsel C A Sundaram sought to convince the bench that no further orders were required in the matter since an independent probe panel had already submitted its report and the BCCI was agreeable to almost all recommendations.
Assuring the BCCI would take disciplinary action against erring players, Sundaram said that while the real worry was whether IPL players were involved in match-fixing or spot-fixing, the court-appointed panel had only found betting.
The court, however, shot down his contention. “Don’t say that. You are saying this because you have not seen what is there in the sealed cover. We have seen it and so we are at the root of it. After going through it, we think there is a big question whether you will implement anything.”
The court asked Sundaram to go through the confidential report as an officer of the court and “not as a lawyer paid by Srinivasan” and then argue whether