BCCI to form panel to study Lodha Committee ruling

The Governing Council (GC) of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at an emergency meeting here on Sunday decided to abide by the Lodha Committee verdict and will constitute a panel to study the order suspending two franchises and banning two team officials.

The Supreme Court-appointed Lodha Committee on July 14 suspended Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals for two years from the IPL in the spot fixing and betting scandal that rocked the cash-rich Twenty20 tournament in 2013.

Former CSK team official Gurunath Meiyappan and Royals co-owner Raj Kundra, both of whom were earlier found guilty of betting, were banned for life from any cricketing activity.

“BCCI respects the verdict of the Lodha Commission and will abide by their decisions, in toto. The members recognised that there is an urgent need to understand the impact of this decision and the wider ramifications for BCCI in detail, so as to uphold the paramountcy of the game in our country,” Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Anurag Thakur said.

“The IPL GC hence authorised the chairman, Shri Rajeev Shukla, to constitute a working group which will study this verdict, in consultation with all our key advisors and explore all the possible measures to be adopted, with an objective to protect the interests of all the stakeholders involved.”

It was decided that a four-member group will be formed from the GC whose names will be announced on Monday. All GC members participated in the meeting, including India team director Ravi Shastri and former India skipper Sourav Ganguly.

“We took the opinion of all the members on what to do and what not to do. We also took advice from BCCI’s legal adviser. We have come to this conclusion that we respect the Lodha Committee decision and will abide by whatever was put forward by them,” Shukla said.

The IPL chief added that the group will have to submit its report within six weeks to the GC which will then forward the report to the BCCI working committee which will take the final decision.

“The group will talk to IPL stakeholders, broadcasters, sponsors, state associations and also the legal experts and come up with a report within six weeks. I can say that everybody has the opinion that the show must go on, the value of league should be enhanced. So IPL 9 is going to be better that the previous edition,” Shukla said.

Shukla refused to reveal the details of what was discussed in the meeting.

“We cannot divulge the deliberations which had taken place in the meeting. The different members expressed their opinion. Keeping in mind the discipline of the house, we cannot say who said what,” he said.

The Supreme Court-appointed Justice Mukul Mudgal panel to probe the 2013 IPL scandal had found Meiyappan and Kundra guilty of betting in its report submitted on November 17, 2014.

The apex court on January 22 then set up the Lodha Committee comprising former chief justice of India R.M. Lodha (retired), Justice Ashok Bhan (retired) and Justice R. Raveendran (retired) to determine the quantum of punishment for Meiyappan, Kundra and their respective franchises.

Meiyappan is the son-in-law of former BCCI president and current International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman N. Srinivasan. Kundra, an Indian-origin British businessman married to Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, owned 11.74 percent of shares in Royals before he gave them away in March earlier this year.