In a landmark judgement, the SC of India appointed Lodha panel, on Tuesday, suspended IPL franchises CSK and RR for two years in connection with the betting and spot-fixing scandals in IPL.
The sentencing panel also meted out severe punishments to Meiyappan and Raj Kundra and banned them for life from all BCCI-related cricket activities. Meiyappan and Raj Kundra, who were indicted in betting activities during IPL 06, were said to have brought the game to disrepute in addition to their betting misdemeanors.
The committee also reasoned that the verdict wouldn’t particularly affect the players associated with these franchises.
“The players are free. They will not be attached to a particular team of the franchise that is suspended,”
Justice Lodha said.
“We thought, cricket is bigger than individuals and body and individuals, then the financial loss to players and franchises is not of significance,”
The sentencing panel headed by former Chief Justice of India, RM Lodha and also comprising ex-judges Ashok Bhan and RV Raveendran, was tasked by a bench of Justices TS Thakur and FMI Kalifulla on January 22 to determine “the quantum of punishment, if any, to be imposed on Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra and also their respective franchises” based on the findings of the Mukul Mudgal panel.
Contrary to claims from India Cements, former owner of CSK, that Meiyappan was just a ‘cricket enthusiast’, the Supreme Court of India ruled, in its verdict based on the 130-page findings of the Mudgal committee probe, that both Meiyappan and Raj Kundra (RR) were indeed ‘Team Officials’ and that they had indulged in betting activities.
Terming the verdict ‘exemplary’, Justice Mukul Mudgal said that despite a temporary setback, the IPL will be better off for the result in the larger scheme of things.
“It is a strong order. IPL will not be finished. This will have a positive impact on players, administrators etc. There will be a temporary setback but the game of cricket will be cleaner. People will have more faith in cricket ,”
An outright ban on the two former champions will have a devastating blow to what is only an 8 team tournament and the outcome will also have major ramifications for the future of the IPL.