MUMBAI: In a severe blow to BCCI and its president-in-exile N Srinivasan, the Bombay high court on Tuesday held as “illegal and unconstitutional” the two-member probe panel set up by it to look into spot-fixing and betting charges in the IPL tournament.
The high court order comes just two days after the probe panel submitted its report on July 28 giving a clean chit to Srinivasan, his son-in-law and owner of Chennai Super Kings team Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra, owner of Rajasthan Royals and husband of actress Shilpa Shetty.
A division bench of justices S J Vazifdar and M S Sonak was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Cricket Association of Bihar and its secretary Aditya Verma challenging the constitution of the two-member commission, set up by the (Board for Control of Cricket in India) BCCI and IPL Governing Council to probe allegations of betting and spot-fixing.
The bench, while allowing the PIL, said the constitution of the probe panel was “illegal and unconstitutional.”
“We have succeeded and the court has accepted our contentions. It is now upto the BCCI to see what is to be done next,” advocate Amit Naik, who appeared along with senior counsels Virendra Tulzapurkar and Birendra Saraf for the petitioner, said.
The petition alleged blatant bias by former BCCI president Srinivasan in the light of mounting allegations against himself and in constituting the probe panel as he is the vice-Chairman and Managing Director of India Cements Ltd, which owns the IPL team – Chennai Super Kings.
The PIL urged the court to direct BCCI to recall its order constituting the probe panel and instead the court shall form a panel of retired judges as it may deem fit to hold inquiry against Meiyappan, India Cements Ltd and Jaipur IPL Cricket Pvt Ltd with regard to their involvement in spot fixing and betting.
BCCI and Srinivasan, in their reply affidavits, termed the petition as “motivated and vested with personal interests.”