Chennai Super Kings, the most consistent team in the IPL, and Rajasthan Royals were on Tuesday suspended from the cash-rich cricket league for two years for betting activities of their key officials Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra during the 2013 season.
The punishment was handed down by a Supreme Court-appointed three-member committee headed by former CJI R M Lodha which held that the betting activities of the two officials, Meiyappan, considered the face of CSK owners, and Kundra, co-owner of Rajasthan Royals, have brought the game of cricket, BCCI and IPL into disrepute.
The Committee also imposed sanctions including life suspensions for Meiyappan and Kundra from being involved in any cricket matches conducted by BCCI.
The Committee was constituted by the Supreme Court in January this year with its terms of reference being to announce the quantum of punishment against Meiyappan, Kundra and the two franchisees -- India Cements Ltd, owner of CSK and Jaipur IPL, owner of Rajasthan Royals.
Addressing the media after pronouncing their verdict, the three-member committee was asked whether they have contemplated action against IPL COO Sundar Raman, who was also accused of wrongdoing.
Justice Lodha said it will be some time before his fate is decided.
"About Sundar Raman, we examined the material about him and we believe it requires further investigation. Vivek Priyadarshi has been appointed by the Supreme Court to look into it and he is examining the matter, we are awaiting his report. After that we will decide what will be the action," he said.
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.
He also refused to comment on the criminal cases pending against the suspended officials, saying, "No aspect touching criminal liability has been decided by us."
On whether the two franchisees would be allowed to participate in case their is a change in ownership, Justice Lodha that aspect is for the BCCI to decide.
"This question was brought to us. But the BCCI has to take a call and whatever the legal course is there, it is available. You must appreciate that we cannot address every aspect of the matter," he said.
Asked whether the committee took a considered view of the impact this ruling will have on the players attached with the two suspended franchises, Justice Lodha said the game is bigger than the individuals.
"Players will not be attached to a franchisee which has been suspended. We thought that if cricket is bigger than individuals then financial loss to players and franchises is not of significance," he said.
Source: Times of India