The much-awaited report on IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal was made public on 14th June 2015. A three-member Supreme Court appointed committee headed by former Chief Justice of India Rajendra Mal Lodha has decided to suspend two top teams on been found guilty in match-fixing probe. The panel has taken tough decisions on people accused in the scandal and is pretty sure that it stands even if challenged in court.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) have been suspended for two years as these teams and their officials were involved in the fixing scandal that came into limelight in 2013. The decision though late has come as a sound warning and also as a step to protect the integrity of the game. The panel has suspended Gurunath Meiyappan of CSK and Raj Kundra of RR for life, who had stakes in the team’s ownership and were also found guilty. They had violated the anti-corruption code and purity of game has been affected by actions of India Cements and Mr. Kundra. Though both the parties can challenge the decision to a Supreme Court committee of Justice TS Thakur and FMI Kalifulla and High Courts in Chennai, Delhi or Mumbai, it seems to be tough for the decision to be overturned in their favour.
The report also raises serious concern on the role of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which runs the tournament. The board appointed a commission under then BCCI chief N Srinivasan, which gave Meiyappan and Kundra a clean chit saying that there was no evidence against them and stating Meiyappan as “mere cricket enthusiast”. It may be noted that Mr. Srinivasan himself owns India Cements and is a close relative to Meiyappan. The role of players of teams, especially MS Dhoni, who was questioned by the committee on this issue, has been important in the conclusion of the report. Dhoni had also agreed to Srinivasan’s statement on Meiyappan and this has been termed as falsification of information as probed by the report. Delhi Police has also come under scanner in their probe, accused of protecting Mr. Kundra.
The Lodha committee’s decision is a strong step towards cleaning cricket in India and also compliments the Mudgal committee report submitted in February 2014. Furthermore, it should be made sure that the decision stands irrespective of challenges by the opposition party. This would set a good example for younger players too. BCCI on its part should now look to improve its image and gain public trust by not letting the suspended teams and players to participate under new franchises. The purity of Gentleman’s game needs to be preserved and those accused should be punished heavily as it was in case of S. Sreesanth, Ankit Chavan and Ajit Chandila in 2013. The game has thousands of followers in India as well in the world; a proper step would set a benchmark for the game to thrive in future and would lead to its development all over.