It can't get any worse. All these weeks, we had only heard of the "sealed envelope". On Wednesday, the Supreme Court revealed that BCCI president-in-abeyance N Srinivasan was one of the 13 persons named by the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee.
The apex court also told senior counsel CA Sundaram (appearing for the BCCI) and Mukul Rohatgi (appearing for Srinivasan) that Srinivasan could not discharge his functions as president till the probe into the spot-fixing scandal is completed.
A bench of justices AK Patnaik and FM Ibrahim Kalifulla, however, expressed reservations over a SIT or CBI probe, saying that the institutional autonomy of the BCCI has to be maintained and that it would prefer a committee constituted by the BCCI to look into the issue. "Having come to know the nature of allegations, we cannot close our eyes," the bench said, adding, "Till it (probe) is done, Srinivasan cannot come in BCCI. The allegations are against 13 people for which verification and inquiry is needed. Srinivasan names comes at the last. (Some) very important cricketers' names are there, but we do not want to name them at this stage."
The apex court clarified that Srinivasan cannot perform any function in the BCCI and that its interim order, announced on March 28, stands. This was in response to Srinivasan's affidavit, filed on Tuesday, asking the court to reinstate him since he had done no wrong. "It seems that Mr Srinivasan has not taken the allegations seriously," the bench said.
The ball is now in BCCI's court as it has been asked to come back on April 22 with a concrete proposal of conducting a probe against those named in order to maintain its functional autonomy. Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) secretary Aditya Verma, who is the main petitioner, seemed happy with the outcome. "The honorable court has clearly warned that 'it should not be forced to order a CBI probe into the issue'," Verma said on Wednesday.
However, there was some relief for Indian Premier League CEO Sundar Raman, who has been allowed to continue.
"The honorable judges responded to the BCCI counsel's argument that the court was responding only to prima facie evidence and not secondary evidence. On hearing this, Justice Patnaik, for the first time, revealed details about the sealed envelope. He said that there were 13 names in the sealed envelope. Srinivasan's name was the 13th, and he had 12 allegations against him, with annexures to each of them," Verma told dna.
Verma further said that he'll demand a CBI inquiry into the entire matter during the April 22 hearing. "The court has clearly said that on April 22 it will look into several matters, including the amended clause in the BCCI constitution that allowed Srinivasan to own a team in the IPL as well as Srinivasan being sent as a BCCI nominee to ICC meetings."
There is also a possibility that G Sampath Kumar, the Chennai police officer whose deposition formed part of Mudgal Committee's report, will be asked to depose before the court on April 22. The Deccan Chargers may be introduced as part of the arbitration pertaining to the matter of their termination.