BCCI panel “illegal”, against its own rules: Bombay HC

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court, which struck down as "illegal and unconstitutional" the two-member panel that went into spot fixing and betting charges in the IPL, has held that the commission was constituted in violation of the rules framed by the BCCI.
 
However, it refrained from ordering a new panel of retired judges to go into the charges against India Cements Ltd, owners of IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings, its former Team Principal Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of BCCI's President-in-exile N Srinivasan, and Raj Kundra, co-owner of Rajasthan Royals.
 
It held that forming a new probe commission was the prerogative of the Cricket Board.
 
"The (probe) Commission was not duly constituted and was contrary to and in violation of the provisions of Rules 2.2 and 3 of Section 6 of the Operational Rules (of BCCI)," said Justices M S Sonak and S F Vajifdar in a 61-page verdict delivered yesterday which may thwart Srinivasan's bid to regain full control of the BCCI.
 
The court was hearing a PIL filed by the Cricket Association of Bihar and its secretary Aditya Verma challenging the constitution of the two-member commission set up by BCCI and IPL Governing Council after surfacing of the betting and fixing scandal.
 
The High Court order came just two days after the panel submitted its report on July 28 giving a clean chit to all those against whom the probe was conducted.
 
Armed with the clean-chit, Srinivasan was expected to reclaim his position in the Cricket Board after stepping aside for the duration of the inquiry.
 
"In our view the commission has been constituted contrary to the operational rules and it would not entitle the court to constitute a fresh probe commission at least (at) this stage and in this writ petition", the judges observed.
 
"The constitution of a probe commission under section 6 of the Operational Rules is the prerogative of BCCI. We see no reason to deprive it of the same at this stage and in this petition. BCCI is at liberty to take such steps as it deems in this regard", the Judges said while disposing of the PIL.
 
The court also rejected Srinivisan's plea for a stay on its order to enable him move a higher court in appeal.