New Delhi – India's Supreme Court on Monday suggested a fresh enquiry into the spot-fixing scandal surrounding the Indian Premier League, further delaying N. Srinivasan's return as the country's cricket chief.
The court proposed a three-member panel headed by a former judge to investigate the scandal that has rocked the popular Twenty20 league run by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
“We want this committee to probe the spot-fixing and this committee will report to us,” said A.K Patnaik, one of two judges hearing the case.
Patnaik also told the court that the BCCI's lawyers must reply to the proposal at the next hearing on Tuesday.
The probe will be separate from continuing investigations by police, who have filed charges in court against a string of officials, players and bookmakers in the scandal.
Srinivasan, 68, widely regarded as the most powerful man in world cricket, has been barred by the court from taking charge since his election as the BCCI chief for a third year on September 29.
A cricket body in the eastern state of Bihar which is not affiliated to the BCCI had asked the court to prevent Srinivasan's return on moral grounds because his son-in-law had been charged in the scandal.
The son-in-law, Gurunath Meiyappan, was the team principal of the Chennai Super Kings, the IPL franchise owned by Srinivasan's India Cements company and captained by national skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Srinivasan, who has not himself been accused of any wrongdoing, stepped aside temporarily as BCCI president in June when Meiyappan was named in the scandal.
The Bihar association had argued in court that an internal BCCI probe panel had absolved Srinivasan, Meiyappan, India Cements and other IPL officials of wrongdoing even before police had filed charges in court.
Former Australian star Mike Hussey, who has played for the Chennai Super Kings since the inaugural IPL season in 2008, recently dismissed Srinivasan's suggestion that Meiyappan was only a “cricket enthusiast”.
Hussey asserted in his new autobiography that Meiyappan was running the team since Srinivasan was busy with BCCI affairs.
“Our owner was India Cements, headed by Mr Srinivasan,” Hussey wrote, according to excerpts published on the ESPNCricinfo website.
“As he was also on the board of the BCCI, he gave control of the team to his son-in-law Mr Gurunath (Meiyappan).
“He ran the team along with Kepler Wessels, who was (then) coach.”
Srinivasan's hold on world cricket stems from India's vast television audience, which enables the country to generate almost 70 percent of the game's revenues.
International news organisations, including Agence France-Presse, have suspended their on-field coverage of matches hosted by the BCCI since last year after the board imposed restrictions on picture agencies. – Sapa-AFP