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Inclusion of Shastri in BCCI probe committee creates furore

The Supreme Court of India had last week directed the BCCI to recommend a probe committee that would autonomously scrutinize the 2013 Indian Premier League spot-fixing and betting scam. This fallout is due to the apex court having received thirteen names inclusive of suspended BCCI president N. Srinivasan in a report submitted by an inquiry committee. According to the directive from the Supreme Court the BCCI had named former Test all-rounder Ravi Shastri and former Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court Jai Narain Patel in the three-man panel to investigate the IPL 6 scandal involving allegations of illegal betting and match fixing.

The cricketing fraternity seems to be divided over both the choices of the BCCI, Shastri and Patel. The meeting in Mumbai took almost three hours to agree upon three names and former Central Bureau of Investigation head RK Raghavan was supposedly the third to be on the committee. BCCI disclosed that their lawyers would be present their chosen committee only before the apex court. BCCI seemed to be divided on the choice of panelists with many other former cricketers and former BCCI President Shashank Manohar having opposed Shastri’s inclusion.

Manohar claimed that Shastri was a paid employee of the Board and a member of more than two important IPL committees. Shastri is also commentating in the ongoing IPL 7 in UAE and has close ties with discarded Srinivasan. Manohar stressed that Shastri would therefore clearly face conflict of interest and so it would be inappropriate to chose him. Shastri stated that he was surprised that his name was even considered. During the meeting Manohar’s choice lawyer Somnath Chatterjee was down against Shastri whom most preferred. Similarly Raghavan inclusion was because he had received more votes from the BCCI members. Then Sharad Pawar objected to Justice Patel’s selection as he has a family relationship with interim BCCI joint-head, Shivlal Yadav.

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