For the hordes of OB vans and mediapersons waiting outside the Supreme Court on Friday, the 'party' was over the moment the apex court deferred to March 25 the hearing on the IPL spot-fixing case.
But that did not stop anybody from approaching Aditya Verma, the man who has brought the BCCI on its knees, so much so that its counsel pleaded before the court not to make public the names of the cricketers named in the sealed envelope submitted by a member of the Mudgal Committee.
Verma, however, maintained that he was confident of winning this one, and asked everyone to wait till March 25. "Monday and Friday are admission days in the court. That's why this case has now been listed at No. 1 for hearing on March 25. There is no relief for the BCCI or its president, N Srinivasan," Verma, who heads the Cricket Association of Bihar, clarified.
According to the details which emerged from the court, the BCCI finally admitted that Gurunath Meiyappan was not just a "cricket enthusiast". "In its submission before the court, the BCCI has admitted that Meiyappan was indeed involved in betting and revealing inside information. Now, the board wants the apex court to give it a chance to probe the matter and take action against the guilty persons and IPL teams," Verma told dna, adding: "This simply means that Srinivasan now admits to his team's (Chennai Super Kings) mistakes but still wants to hang on to his job in the BCCI and the ICC by punishing a few officials to somehow save his own skin."
It must be mentioned here that the three-member committee, headed by former Punjab and Haryana chief justice Mukul Mudgal, has named in its report six prominent "Indian capped" players, including one from the current team, because their names cropped up during the investigations.
The BCCI, in its response to the report, said "speculative and baseless" charges against leading cricketers have been made by "unscrupulous" news channels and the apex court must pass an order to prevent any further damage to the image and reputation of "innocent" cricketers.
Justice Mudgal, on his part, clarified that his report has asked for further probe in several matters, including Meiyappan's role and insiders betting during IPL matches. "If you go through the report, the three-member committee has found that Meiyappan was very much a part of the CSK team. The role of some IPL team owners has also been questioned as they were placing bets on matches. It is now up to the honorable court to decide the further course of action," Justice Mudgal said on Friday.
This newspaper has learnt that "speculation is rife that the sealed cover contains names of at least two current members of the national team, apart from three officials".
The apex court committee, which also comprised additional solicitor general N Nageshwar Rao and Assam Cricket Association member Nilay Dutta, had given names of the players, whose roles are being probed, in a sealed cover. The report has also quoted a journalist, who wrote an investigative piece titled 'Dirt in Cricket' in prominent sports magazine. The said journalist had access to several tapes and identified the voice of a key Indian player, who was part of the World Cup-winning team.
"The journalist refused to disclose the names of the Indian players involved. In spite of repeated requests to put the name of the said player in a sealed cover for perusal before the Supreme Court, the journalist appeared terrified and was very reluctant to do so and pleaded that it would be dangerous for the journalist concerned," the report has said.
"Srinivasan has no option other than to scrap his IPL team along with Rajasthan Royals (co-owner raj Kundra was arrested for betting) as per the clause 11.3 of the franchise agreement. These teams should not be a part of the upcoming IPL season," demanded Verma. But the real drama shall us unfold on March 25 when a bench headed by Justice AK Patnaik would resume the hearing of the case.