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CSK shouldn’t be penalised on account of one person, India Cements tells SC

MUMBAI: During the hearing on the betting and spot-fixing scandal in the Indian Premier League (IPL), India Cements today told the Supreme Court that its franchise Chennai Super Kings (CSK) should not be penalised for the actions of one individual.

The company told the court that it has 3,000 employees and therefore it cannot be expected to police them all. India Cements also told the court that Meiyappan was not betting from the cricket stadium during matches. The SC responded by saying that it did not matter where he bet from.

The court told the individual in question, Gurunath Meiyappan, that he should not have surrounded himself with people who bet. It also told him that even his father-in-law N Srinivasan and the franchise had accepted that he was a team official. In the court, Meiyappan refused to clarify whether or not he was a CSK team official.

The proceedings have forced the BCCI for the third time to postpone its elections which were supposed to have taken place on 17 December. Since the SC proceedings will not be finished by that date, cricket’s richest governing body asked the SC for permission to postpone them further. The court agreed to this. The elections will now take place at the end of January 2015.

The BCCI first told the court that the appointment of a high-power committee to decide on the punishment for those who breached the IPL code of conduct, including Meiyappan, could affect its autonomy. However, later in the day it accepted the court’s proposal. The same committee will also look into the conflict of interest issue involving N Srinivasan and the CSK.
The apex court reassured the BCCI that the committee will be made up of BCCI members, but they will be appointed by the court and not the BCCI.

N Srinivasan wanted a new panel to look into the matter of conflict of interest. He has told the SC that if re-elected as BCCI president, he will stay away from the IPL governing council till a proposed committee decides on the question of conflict of interest involving him and the CSK.

“If I contest and if I win, I undertake that I will stay away from the IPL governing council, its activities and the BCCI meetings where the issue relating to IPL will be discussed,” his counsel Kapil Sibal told the court.

The court asked the BCCI why it had not acted so far. For many months the case has been debated in court, but the BCCI has taken no action. If fans believe the game is fake, that might cause cricket to collapse, the court noted.

Raj Kundra, a co-owner of the other IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals, argued that the findings of the report go against the principles of natural justice.

The next hearing takes place on Monday, 15 December 2014.
Yesterday the Supreme Court had asked the BCCI to take punitive action against Meiyappan, who was indicted for betting during IPL 2013.

“We want action against Meiyappan. What can be done to decide the quantum of punishment? We don’t want to bypass the BCCI and announce punitive measures,” the apex court said. The BCCI was given four options to deal with Meiyappan:

1. Srinivasan steps aside and a BCCI committee takes a decision on Meiyappan.
2. Two independent judges are appointed to look into the punishment for Meiyappan.
3. The IPL governing council decides on the punishment for Meiyappan.
4. The Mudgal panel decides what punishment to hand out to Meiyappan.

The Supreme Court had yesterday also questioned the rationale behind N Srinivasan stepping aside as BCCI president but attending its meetings as Tamil Nadu Cricket Association president. The court sought a dispassionate investigation into the prima facie findings of the Justice Mukul Mudgal committee into the IPL scam because otherwise, ‘an entire nation would feel cheated’.

On Twitter former IPL chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi today wrote, “For all who think I have vested interest, think again. If I did, why would I want them sacked? Value of these teams is few $100 million at least”.