2 years back, a PIL was filed in Bombay High Court against corruption in the Indian Premier League and the Supreme Court appointed a three-judge panel with the former Chief Justice of India, Justice J M Lodha as the chairman of the committee. As the assistants, two former Supreme Court judges, Justice Ashok Bhan and Justice R V Raveendran, were appointed.
Yesterday, the Lodha committee gave its verdict on the scandal and following are the highlights of the judgement.
- Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals have both been suspended for 2 years with immediate effect. Following the implementation of the suspension, two new teams will be inducted in the Indian Premier League to meet the requirement of the participation of minimum 8 teams.
- Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of the ex-BCCI president N Srinivasan and the face of Chennai Super Kings till 2013, has been banned for life from all cricketing activities.
- Raj Kundra, husband of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty Kundra and co-owner of Rajasthan Royals, has been declared ineligible in cricket participation for five years and suspended for life in any type of cricket matches.
- According to the Supreme Court order of January 26, the teams can appeal against the suspension for which they will have to go back to the Supreme Court bench that ordered the formation of the Lodha committee or appeal at High Court in either Delhi, Bombay or Madras.
In what was probably the first time that a court was being read out in a public forum, Justice Lodha said that both Chennai and Rajasthan were equally at fault for letting Meiyappan and Kundra continue with their corrupt activities and never reporting to the anti-corruption unit of the BCCI. He clearly stated, “The purity of the game has been affected by the actions of India Cements(Srinivasan is the Managing Director of the company) and Chennai Super Kings. Fans have been cheated.”
Meanwhile BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya said in a statement, “BCCI is committed to honour and respect judicial decision and it would give its observations after the entire report is read and a collective decision is taken.”
Raj Kundra, co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals, pleads innocence as he said, “Today is a very depressing and sad day for me as my integrity is being questioned. Despite no evidence against me, I have been pronounced guilty. My support to the probe seems to have backfired. I am just a minority stakeholder of 11.7% in the franchise and it’s very unfair to penalise the full team and its players.”
Clearly the Lodha committee seems to have put the intent to purify the game on the front-foot though there has been no mention of the 6 players named in Justice Mukul Mudgal’s sealed envelope to the Supreme Court. They didn’t give the priority to the future of the players or the teams indicating the enormity of the issue and hinted towards upcoming reforms. It’s still to be seen if the teams and the convicted will appeal against the decisions of the committee.
NEWS and MATERIAL COURTESY : NDTV