In a landmark judgement, the Supreme court of India appointed Lodha panel, on Tuesday, suspended IPL franchises Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for a period of two years in connection with the betting and spot-fixing scandals in the IPL.
The sentencing panel also meted out severe punishments to Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra and banned them for life from all BCCI-related cricket activities. Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra, who were indicted in betting activities during IPL 2013, were said to have brought the game to disrepute in addition to their betting misdemeanors.
The committee also reasoned that the verdict wouldn’t particularly affect the players associated with the concerned franchises. “The players are free. They will not be attached to a particular team of the franchise that is suspended,” Justice Lodha said.”We thought that cricket is bigger than individuals and body andindividuals, then the financial loss to players and franchises is not of significance,” he added.
The sentencing panel headed by former Chief Justice of India, RM Lodha and also comprising ex-judges Ashok Bhan and RV Raveendran, was tasked by a bench of Justices TS Thakur and FMI Kalifulla on January 22 to determine “the quantum of punishment, if any, to be imposed on Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra and also their respective franchises” based on the findings of the Mukul Mudgal panel.
Contrary to claims from India Cements, former owning body of CSK, that Gurunath Meiyappan was just a ‘cricket enthusiast’, the Supreme Court of India ruled, in its verdict based on the 130-page findings of the Mudgal committee probe, that both Meiyappan and Raj Kundra (Rajasthan Royals) were indeed ‘Team Officials’ and that they had indulged in betting activities.
Terming the verdict ‘exemplary’, Justice Mukul Mudgal said that despite a temporary setback, the IPL will be better off for the result in the larger scheme of things. “It is a strong order. IPL will not be finished. This will have a positive impact on players, administrators etc. There will be a temporary setback but the game of cricket will be back cleaner. People will have more faith in cricket now,” he said.
An outright ban on the two former champions will have a devastating blow to what is only an eight-team tournament and the outcome will also have major ramifications for the future of the IPL.
The committee said its observations with respect to the much-talked about conflict of interest in the BCCI would be given after completing interactions with various stakeholders of the game.
“Conflict of interest questions have been raised, once we complete the process of interacting with all the stakeholders, we will take a view on that. That exercise is not complete. This order is confined to determining the quantum of punishment to the two individuals and the franchises,” he said.
“We have interacted with 40-45 people, we are yet to meet a few others. Once that is done we will decide what guidelines are to be given. Our idea is to get inputs from all stakeholders. It is not confined to cricket administrators and politicians,” he added.