When MS Dhoni was preparing for the encounter against Bangladesh in Dhaka on Friday, his name figured in the Supreme Court in the Capital with the BCCI's counsel claiming that the skipper had been needlessly vilified by opposing counsel Harish Salve.
Salve, who was representing the Cricket Association of Bihar, said Dhoni will be answerable if an inquiry is ordered into the cover-up of the IPL betting and fixing scandal since he lied to the probe panel, saying Gurunath Meiyappan was not associated with Chennai Super Kings in any official capacity.
While deposing before the Mukul Mudgal-headed panel appointed by Supreme Court, Dhoni had corroborated BCCI chief N Srinivasan's remarks that Meiyappan was a mere a "cricket enthusiast".
BCCI counsel CA Sundaram said, "I think that comments on Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni that he tried to cover up was most unfortunate, were reckless and were never ought to have been made," Sundaram said. He also said the Mudgal committee had only asked Dhoni whether Gurunath had a role in the cricketing affairs of Chennai Super Kings and that there was documentary proof to support his statement. He said Dhoni had not used the word "enthusiast" when speaking to the Mudgal committee.
In the Mudgal report, the only mention of the Dhoni's deposition is as follows: "Mr MS Dhoni, Mr N Srinivasan and officials of India Cements took the stand that Mr Meiyappan had nothing to do with the cricketing affairs of Chennai Super Kings and was a mere cricket enthusiast supporting Super Kings." Dhoni's deposition to the Mudgal committee was recorded and transcripts were made available to both lawyers. Gurunath's role in CSK is understood to be one of several queries made to Dhoni.
Salve stood by his comments on Tuesday and said, "I am sorry that the submissions being made by BCCI today were unnecessary," and referred to the comments in the report. He told television news channel CNN-IBN that Dhoni had been, "put in a difficult position" and that he should stayed away from the committee. "He should have said I don't want to appear before the committee... but I don't know why he volunteered to appear before the committee and make this kind of a statement."
According to the IPL's anti-corruption code, which is adopted from the ICC's code, Salve said, "The definition of corruption includes cover-up." He said if there was an inquiry ordered on a cover-up, "he (Dhoni) will have to go and answer what he told the committee and why he told them so." By defending Dhoni, Salve said, the BCCI was "again compromising" its position.
As the BCCI was the disciplinary authority, "if somebody has made a wrong statement before the committee, (the BCCI) should call him and ask him why he said this... and he should justify this to the BCCI by saying, 'I didn't say this or I was misunderstood or confused,' or whatever answer he has to give.. under what situation he made that. Instead the BCCI is already defending him."
While Salve said the Supreme Court's interim order was, "an expression of no confidence in Srinivasan", Sundaram denied it was a setback for the BCCI. "How can anything be a setback when this is the offer that the BCCI made? We are extremely clean that nobody should have any manner of doubt. We want the clean-up and this is what Srinivasan told the court also."
The hearing will resume on April 16, with the CAB arguing that the Mudgal committee report was sufficient for Srinivasan's removal. Salve said the Mudgal committee report had proved "conflict of interest in action" in the BCCI.