Kolkata, 28 Jul (PTI): The decks were today cleared for President-in-exile N Srinivasan’s possible return to the BCCI top post after a two-judge probe panel found no evidence against his team Chennai Super Kings in the IPL spot-fixing and betting scandal which rocked the sixth edition of the event.
Srinivasan could stage a comeback as BCCI chief as early as August 2 when the Board’s Working Committee and the IPL Governing Council meet in New Delhi to take a final call on the issue.
The two-member panel, comprising former High Court Judges T Jayaram Chouta and R Balasubramanian, submitted its report to the BCCI Working Committee which met here today amid intense speculation that the Tamil Nadu strongman could get back the job.
The panel was mandated to enquire into the roles of Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, who was the Team Prinicipal of Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals and its co-owner Raj Kundra.
“There is no evidence of any wrongdoing found by the judges against Raj Kundra, India Cements and Rajasthan Royals.
The report will now be forwarded to the IPL Governing Council which will take a final decision when it meets on August 2 in New Delhi,” BCCI vice-President Niranjan Shah told reporters.
Since the panel’s order is binding on the BCCI which makes it clear that Srinivasan will return as Board chief.
Addressing a brief press conference, BCCI interim chief Jagmohan Dalmiya said that the inquiry report will be forwarded to the IPL Governing Council as per the operational rules of the Board.
“IPL Governing Council will meet on August 2 in New Delhi to take a decision on these issues,” Dalmiya said.
Asked whether India Cements have been given a clean chit in the report, he said, “The final call will be taken in the IPL Governing Council meeting.
“It will be discussed in the proper forum which is the IPL Governing Council. The Governing Council will examine the report and accordingly will take a decision. The copy of the report will be made public in due course,” Dalmiya said.
There was, however, no clarity on Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan’s role in the scandal and it is learnt that the inquiry commission has not given him a “clean chit”.
Shah, when asked whether Meiyappan has been given a clean chit, did not give any answer.
According to a source, Meiyappan has been cleared of spot-fixing in the inquiry report but could be involved in betting though there was no clear evidence.
Dalmiya said that the order of the probe commission was received only this morning and speculation that it had come to the BCCI earlier was not correct.
“The order was received by secretary Sanjay Patel here and it was placed in the afternoon before the Working Committee,” he said.
Asked who will chair the August 2 meeting, Dalmiya said, “Let Mr Srinivasan decide. Let Srinivasan take his decision.”
Dalmiya also said that BCCI Anti-Corruption Unit chief Ravi Sawani’s report was discussed but since one player — Ajit Chandila — is in police custody, the probe could not be completed.
“We will wait for some time and then proceed accordingly.
Sawani is currently on leave because of his son’s marriage.
Let him come back,” Dalmiya said.
On who will chair the IPL GC meeting since chairman Rajiv Shukla has resigned, Dalmiya said, “I have requested him to continue. I have not accepted Shukla’s resignation.”
Dalmiya said the BCCI was in the process of finalising the itineraries for the tours of South Africa and New Zealand.
“It is under process. There are other tours also. We will come to you in due time,” he said.
Regarding the controversy over India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s alleged conflict of interest issue, Dalmiya said nothing will be swept under the carpet.
“I had said nothing will be swept under the carpet, many were asking what happened to that…,” he said.
“We have changed our mode of working. We don’t believe you to be after any player or anybody. Therefore, the players will have to declare their interest in sports management companies.”
Talking about Delhi seamer Pradeep Sangwan, who has failed a random dope test conducted during IPL VI, Dalmiya said, “BCCI will follow the procedures as per anti-doping code.”
He also said that the annual contract for coaches and support staff for special academies has been renewed for one year.
The IPL spot-fixing scandal broke out when India pacer S Sreesanth, along with two other Rajasthan Royals players Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan and 11 bookies, was arrested for alleged spot-fixing in the IPL.
The contracts of the tainted players were terminated by their franchise, which also lodged a criminal complaint against them.
It snowballed into a crisis for the BCCI when Board President N Srinivasan’s son-in-law and Chennai Super Kings Team Principal Meiyappan was arrested on charges of betting on May 26.
A internal probe panel, originally comprising former judges Chouta, Balasubramanian and the then BCCI Secretary Sanjay Jagdale, was constituted on May 28 to investigate the allegations against Meiyappan, who maintained his innocence after getting bail.
Srinivasan, who owns the CSK franchise, remained defiant through the turmoil and refused to resign but had to step aside as BCCI President after a stormy emergent Board meeting on June 2 where Dalmiya took charge of an interim arrangement to run the Board’s affairs pending the inquiry.
The upheaval led to the resignations of Board Secretary Sanjay Jagdale and Treasurer Ajay Shirke, who asked for Srinivasan’s resignation on moral grounds.