However I sit here as President of the BCCI and must put all personal feelings aside. I can assure you all that I will not shirk from my duty, however difficult it may be. BCCI will act without fear or favour to investigate and, if the circumstances warrant, punish any players, match officials, team management or franchises that have breached BCCI or IPL regulations.
The BCCI’s Anti-Corruption Unit report on the allegations of spot fixing by the Rajasthan Royals players, S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila, Amit Singh and Ankeet Chavan will be issued in time. The BCCI will continue to offer all assistance to the police if their enquiries bring suspicion onto any other players.
With regard to Mr Gurunath Meiyappan, the legal process has already started and he is facing a police investigation. The BCCI has already taken the decision to provisionally suspend him from all activities in cricket and particularly from all involvement with the Chennai Super Kings franchise.
The disciplinary procedure under the Operational Rules shall be initiated and a commission (including at least one member who is entirely independent of the BCCI) will be formed to adjudicate whether Mr Gurunath is in breach of paragraph 14 of Section 2 of the Operational Rules, which requires all persons subject to the Operational Rules not to act in any way which would have an adverse affect on the image and/or reputation of the BCCI or the IPL or which would otherwise bring either entity into disrepute. The management of other franchises will also be subject to similar procedures.
I am not part of this commission and will not play any role in its appointment, deliberations or decision.
If Mr. Gurunath or anyone in the management of these franchises is found liable, the Operational Rules provide a number of potential sanctions, ranging from fines and suspension to, at the extreme, termination of the franchise. There has been a lot of comment in the media about clause 11.3 of the Franchise Agreement and whether or not Mr. Gurunath is an owner of the franchise. It is for the commission to look into this matter.
The BCCI is very concerned by the allegations that have been made concerning the IPL – whether those be related to illegal betting or spot fixing. As I have said on a number of occasions, BCCI will act swiftly and firmly if the allegations are proven.
The principles of natural justice are that every person has a right to a fair hearing and the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Some of the news reports have overstepped these bounds and I would request you all to be wary of a trial by media.
Persons suspended from BCCI, known defaulters, fugitives from the Indian justice system and other vested interests keen to discredit me and the BCCI have indulged in a smear campaign this past week. The unfair attack has been relentless. The TV news channels have been carrying unverifiable and bizarre statements devoid of any truth apparently with an eye on their ratings. An illustration of this type of news would be reports of a revolt wihin the BCCI. I wish to reassure the cricketing world that there is complete unity in the BCCI and I have not been asked to resign by anyone. To the contrary my support is complete and I refuse to yield to unfair and motivated attacks. I intend to continue with my duties as President BCCI.
The IPL is very important to the BCCI. It gives an opportunity for young Indian players to play with the senior Indian and overseas players in front of capacity crowds. It helps bring a new audience to the game. This season, the crowds in the stadiums are more than last year with over 21 lakh ticket holders having attended the matches. The IPL also contributes significant funds to develop the game of cricket in India. In this last season, new world class stadiums in Ranchi, Pune, Rajkot and Dharamshala hosted international matches for the first time. These stadiums were built using funds generated by the IPL. Over 200 former cricketers have received a onetime benefit (in total some 100 crores) from funds generated by the IPL.
I do not want to minimise the problems facing the IPL. Indians have been proud that our country created a league which has been the envy of the world and BCCI will take whatever steps are necessary to justify the public faith in the tournament & Indian cricket. I also take this opportunity to thank our broadcast partners and sponsors, who contrary to media reports, have stood with BCCI through these difficult times.