The MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings franchise and Rajasthan Royals have both been suspended for two years from taking part in the Indian Premier League after the Supreme Court-appointed Chief Justice RM Lodha panel announced its judgement on Tuesday in the IPL spot-fixing matter.
In other big judgments, former CSK team principal and son-in-law of former BCCI chairman N.Srinivasan, Gurunath Meiyappan has been banned for life from taking part in any cricket-related activities. Rajasthan Royals’ former co-owner Raj Kundra has also been banned for life in this regard.
While pronouncing the judgement, Lodha said that the purity of the game had been affected by the actions of India Cements and CSK and that the fans had been cheated.
“If cricket is bigger, financial losses to players or franchises is not important. I have acted on behalf of BCCI. The law will take its own course now. No criminal liability has been decided by us. We feel that our decision will uphold the paramountcy of the game. This is an institutional view,” Lodha said in his judgement.
During the ruling, Lodha said that Kundra was placing bets through a known punter and was constantly in touch with bookies. He said Rajasthan Royals had damaged the faith of BCCI and the sport and that Kundra was found guilty of misconduct.
Justice Lodha also argued that by regularly accepting bets, CSK’s Meiyappan violated the IPL guidelines on anti-corruption and it was difficult to accept that he had a passion for the game. In the ruling, it was revealed that Meiyappan had incurred losses of over Rs 60 lakh in betting activities.
How the IPL fixing saga played out
The IPL fixing case goes back to May 16, 2013 when Rajasthan Royals players S Sreesanth, Ankit Chavan and Ajit Chandila were arrested on charges of spot-fixing during IPL 2013. Along with them, eleven bookies were also arrested including Amit Singh, a former player of Rajasthan Royals.
Then, on May 24, then team principal of Chennai Super Kings Gurunath Meiyappan was arrested and questioned by Mumbai Police Crime Branch for his links with Vindoo Dara Singh, an actor who had associations with bookies fixing IPL matches. Meiyappan is the son-in-law of BCCI chief-in-exile N. Srinivasan and hence, there was a lot of controversy associated with this development. Srinivasan had then refused to resign as BCCI president saying he had no knowledge of Meiyappan’s activities.
Srinivasan later resigned as BCCI chairman on June 2, 2013 while saying that it was his personal decision and he was not influenced by the investigation. Jagmohan Dalmiya stepped up in his place.
On June 10, 2013, BCCI had suspended then co-owner of Rajasthan Royals, Raj Kundra for indulging in betting activities.
Then, on August 1, 2013, the Bombay High Court dismissed the findings of a BCCI probe panel that had given clean chits to Meiyappan and Kundra. The HC also called the panel ‘illegal and unconstitutional’.
The Supreme Court on August 31, 2013 then issued a notice to BCCI, N. Srinivasan and his company India Cements (which owns CSK) for not appointing a fresh panel to probe the IPL scam.
Meanwhile, S Sreesanth and Ankit Chavan were handed life bans for their involvement in fixing IPL matches on September 13, 2013.
The SC had ordered a fresh probe panel headed by Justice Mukul Mudgal on October 8, 2013 which later found Meiyappan guilty of betting and passing on team information during IPL-6.
On March 18, 2004, MS Dhoni had filed a Rs 100-crore defamation case in the Madras HC against Zee Media Corporation and News Nation Network for linking him with the IPL scam.
Former cricketer Sunil Gavaskar was made interim chief of BCCI during IPL-7 on March 28, 2014 as both CSK and RR were given the go-ahead to compete in the tournament.
On April 16, 2014, the SC rejected Srinivasan’s appeal to allow him back into the BCCI fold, saying that his name features in the inquiry report submitted by the Mudgal committee.
On November 3, 2014, the Mudgal Committee had submitted its report before SC in a sealed envelope. SC later disclosed on November 14 that N Srinivasan, Sundar Raman (former IPL CEO), Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra were probed by the Mudgal Commitee in the IPL spot-fixing case.
The report had alleged that Sundar Raman, who had links with a bookie, had contacted him 8 times during IPL 2013. The BCCI later backed both Raman and Srinivasan while the SC refused to make contents of the Mudgal report public.
On December 15, 2014, the SC decided to examine a controversial amendment in the BCCI rules that allowed Srinivasan and others such as Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, Sourav Ganguly to have commercial interests in the IPL along with a say in the BCCI Board. SC then slammed Srinivasan with conflict of interest charges and told him to withdraw all his shares from Chennai Super Kings.
In a landmark judgment on January 22, 2015, the SC told Tamil Nadu strongman Srinivasan not to elect BCCI elections. The bench also set up the Lodha committee to determine the amount of punishment for Meiyappan, Kundra and their respective teams.