Right from the time the probe panel was constituted, initially comprising then Indian cricket board secretary Sanjay Jagdale and retired chief justices T Jayaram Chouta and R Balasubramanian, it faced a credibility crisis. And now that the two-member panel, after secretary Jagdale resigned, has given a clean chit to India Cements and Raj Kundra, the suspicion of BCCI tweaking the probe has only intensified.
There were allegations, levelled by former cricket administrators and legal experts of all hues from the start. According to noted lawyer Rahul Mehra, the entire thing was a sham.
"How can you call it a fair probe? There are judges and there are judges. It's not like all of them are good Samaritans. And these are the ones handpicked by the BCCI to probe allegations against the BCCI head's son-in-law. So you can imagine how transparent things would be," he reasoned.
Moreover, under the BCCI bye-laws, a disciplinary committee (read commission in this context) is appointed annually by the general body of the board consisting of all 30 members and a notice of 21 days is mandatory for any such deliberation.
That both the judges were from Tamil Nadu raised further eyebrows. Another contentious point was that the probe panel could only interrogate the witnesses provided by the BCCI, which is contradictory.
Overall, it was widely reckoned a hogwash, and the probable verdict was written on the wall much before the probe report was put on the table. "It's very obvious that it's an attempt to pull cotton over your eyes. I don't get the point of an internal probe. Do you think these guys will be able to find more than the Police?" former president AC Muthiah had said.
However, Chouta, a former Karnataka and Madras High Court judge, vehemently asserted they weren't under any pressure to submit a positive report. "See we are High Court Judges and we can't be influenced by anyone. We weren't under any pressure. We approached this as we would any case. We carried out a fair investigation and are satisfied with the findings," stressed Chouta, who informed TNIE that there wouldn't be any more probe from their part.
Justice Balasubramanian too maintained that strict confidentiality will be followed. He told Express that since the probe is confidential he would not be able to comment on it: "It's strictly confidential. Can't say anything more than that."