A day after its probe panel handed out clean chits to IPL owners in the spot-fixing scandal, the BCCI on Monday came under sharp attack for not taking police inputs before completing its "hasty" investigations, prompting fresh calls for the cash-rich body to be brought under RTI ambit.
Even as the BCCI defended the report of its probe panel, the Sports Ministry made it clear that it does not give much importance to the verdict and would rather wait for the police investigations to get over.
"The BCCI might have cleared them but I think the Indian Cricket Board should wait for the police probe to get over," Sports Secretary P K Deb said.
The decks were on Sunday cleared for President-in-exile N Srinivasan's possible return to the BCCI top post after a two-judge probe panel found no evidence against his team Chennai Super Kings.
The two-member panel, comprising former High Court Judges T Jayaram Chouta and R Balasubramanian, had submitted its report to the BCCI Working Committee which met in Kolkata on Sunday. The two former judges found no evidence of any wrongdoing against Raj Kundra, India Cements and Rajasthan Royals.
The BCCI faced the heat for not waiting for the police reports before completing its probe on the spot-fixing and betting scandal which rocked the sixth edition of the IPL. "Why was there such a haste to complete the investigations? The BCCI should have waited for other investigative agencies to give their inputs," said Y P Singh, a former police officer-turned-advocate.
BCCI Vice-President Niranjan Shah said that the Board could not depend on the police report since the two-member commission was already on the job. "I think we can't depend on police report as we had already constituted a commission and whatever the commission said is final," Shah said.
Shah reiterated that two-member probe panel had to continue the probe with whatever "available material". "I think BCCI can't do anything about it (on reports that Mumbai Police didn't co-operate with panel) as we have no control over it. So, we have to live with whatever material that is available to us," Shah said.
However, Shah maintained that if any one of the accused is found guilty during further investigations by the police authorities, BCCI will take immediate cognisance. "If anyone is convicted, automatically the BCCI will take notice and step in to take necessary action," Shah said.
The haste in which the probe was completed triggered fresh calls for the Board to be brought under the RTI purview. "I don't blame (BCCI acting chief) Jagmohan Dalmiya or Srinivasan for this. The politicians are hell bent on making BCCI the next Indian Olympic Association. We have seen what happened to IOA due to political interference and now the same is happening with BCCI," former Indian cricketer Kirti Azad said.
"Mumbai police has said that the investigation is still on. Delhi police is still investigating and the BCCI panel has given them a clean chit. Is BCCI above the law and constitution of the country?" he asked. Azad felt the BCCI should be immediately brought under the ambit of the Right To Information act.
"There is no other alternative. The government has to intervene and bring BCCI under the RTI. When former sports minister Ajay Maken brought the sports bill, the cabinet ministers, involved with BCCI, opposed that. If BCCI claims that they do auditing of their account, then why do they hesitate to come under RTI?" Azad queried.
"It is time to make BCCI functioning more transparent and it can be done through RTI," he said. Justice Mukul Mudgal, who headed the committee constituted to draft the Sports Development Bill 2013, was also in favour of bringing the BCCI under the RTI.
"RTI will apply to all sports bodies and even cricket will come under it. Apart from a few exemptions like one cannot raise questions regarding why a particular player/coach is selected over another, or the contents of a player's contract, medical health and fitness etc, the public is authorised to raise questions," said Justice Mudgal.