Chennai Super Kings moved to Madras High Court to stay the order and nullify the Supreme Court-appointed justice RM Lodha Committee’s order suspending it for two years from the Indian Premier League, Times of India reported.
The CSK management termed the verdict a “grave miscarriage of justice.” Justice Lodha Committee was not asked by the apex court to decide the quantum of punishment to be imposed on franchise and official involved for betting, said the petition filed by the new owner of CSK Cricket Limited. “”The sanctions imposed by the Lodha Committee are illegal, beyond the reference made by the SC in its order dated January 22, 2015.”
The SC appointed a three-member committee headed by justice Mudgal on October 8, 2013, to probe the allegations of betting and spot-fixing in IPL-2013 against Gurunath Meiyappan, India Cements, and others.
On February 9, 2014, the committee filed a report holding Meiyappan and Rajasthan Royals’ co-owner Raj Kundra guilty. On January 22, 2015, the SC-appointed a three-member committee consisting of former Chief Justice of India R M Lodha and two former SC judges – Justice Ashok Bhan and Justice R V Raveendran – to determine the quantum of punishment. On July 14, 215 the committee imposed a life ban on Meiyappan and Kundra and suspended CSK and Rajasthan Royals for two years from IPL.
In its petition, CSK Cricket Limited said it had taken over the team from India Cements on February 20, 2015 itself, and the Lodha Committee order would affect rights to participate in IPL, though it was not a direct part to earlier proceedings.
Though this transfer of ownership was brought to the notice of the committee, it did not issue any notice to the company, it said. “Refusal of the committee to enter into the dispute of whether CSK or its owner India Cements was guilty of violating the IPL rules had led to a grave miscarriage of justice.”
The petition assailed the Mudgal Committee’s report as well, saying it gave its finding without there being any material on record to support allegations that CSK owner was responsible for failing to ensure that team officials complied with IPL rules.
Life ban from all forms of cricket is no punishment at all for Meiyappan as he has never professed to be a cricketer nor owned any team, the petition said, adding that instead every cricketer contracted with CSK and support staff, including manager, coach, trainer and administrative staff had been punished. “Indeed, the worst punishment has been meted out to thousands of CSK fans who form a vast majority of cricket lovers,” said the petition. It wanted the high court to stay the operation of the Justice Lodha Committee report as an interim relief, and quash the entire order.
The petition is expected to be taken up for hearing on Friday.