The Supreme Court delivered its verdict in the Indian Premier League betting and spot fixing scam of 2013, and it was a big setback to the current president N. Srinivasan. The ruling has the potential to change the way cricket has been run in India.
According to TV reports, the court said that Srinivasan cannot contest the next elections of the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI), because of conflict of interest between his roles as president of the board and ownership of Chennai Super Kings, two-time champions of the IPL, and India Cements. It ordered fresh elections in six months.
Srinivasan refused to comment. "I will not react to media as of now," he told TV channels after the judgement. Former Board president Sharad Pawar praised the move.
Former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, who was also the founder of the league and was subsequently sacked, said that he felt vindicated.
In an earlier order, the Supreme court had asked Srinivasan to stay away from decisions related to the IPL until this verdict was delivered. This verdict brings to an end the tenure of one of the most powerful chiefs of BCCI. The court also struck down a rule which had allowed for such conflict to continue.
8. If the purity of the game is undermined then the essence of the game will be lost. Rule 6.2.4 is unsustainable and illegal. #BCCIJudgment— Rahul Mehra (@TheRahulMehra) January 22, 2015
The court also said that Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan and Rajasthan Royals owner Raj Kundra were guilty of betting, according to TV reports. The court said that it will appoint an independent three-member committee to decide what action to take against Kundra and Meiyappan, and also their respective teams, i.e. Rajasthan Royals, and Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
In a particularly strong comment, the court said that while BCCI has the power to punish guilty teams, it cannot be left to them under current circumstances. Instead, the new committee will recommend changes to BCCI's constitution and laws, and address areas which allowed for conflict of interest or fraud.
14. Power to punish the guilty vests with the BCCI but in the current context it cannot be left to the BCCI. To appoint credible legal minds— Rahul Mehra (@TheRahulMehra) January 22, 2015
"The BCCI will extend its unstinted cooperation to the three-member committee appointed by the Honorable Supreme Court," said an official statement from the cricket body.
The action against the two teams has to be decided within six months, the court said. That might put their participation in the IPL in jeopardy. The Royals had won the inaugural edition of IPL under Shane Warne's captaincy. India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is also the captain of CSK.
With this ruling, no cricket administrator can have a commercial interest outside of the game. That would be a significant change, given that recent presidents, such as Jagmohan Dalmiya and AC Muthiah, owned businesses.
The court had constituted a three-member committee headed by Mukul Mudgal, former chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The report was submitted in December 2014, after which the court had reserved its judgement.
Mudgal had probed Srinivasan, Meiyappan, Kundra, and cricket administrator Sundararaman, and had said in the report to the Supreme court that some people had committed misdemeanour in the IPL betting case.