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No evidence against former IPL COO Sundar Raman: Lodha panel

Former IPL COO Sundar Raman was on Monday exonerated by a Supreme Court-appointed Committee which held that none of the allegations against him in connection with the 2013 spot-fixing and betting scandal has been substantiated and that there was no cogent evidence to establish his role in any other wrongful activities.

The committee, headed by retired Supreme Court Chief Justice R M Lodha concluded there was no need for any action against him as none of the seven allegations have been susbstantiated. The committee said on the basis of investigation and material before it, it does not seem that Raman’s omission in informing the IPL Governing Body about the betting activities in 2013 was with “any ulterior or oblique motive or intended to cover or protect someone or was part of any corrupt activity”.

“However, having regard to the duties and responsibilities of Sundar Raman as Chief Operating Officer (COO), his omission to report to the IPL Governing Council was a wrong decision and not expected of a COO of IPL. We have no material to infer that the said decision was motivated,” Justice Lodha said.

The report, which deals with various aspects relating to the functioning of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), was also placed before the Supreme Court and the BCCI and would be considered by the bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur at a later stage. After the report was made public, Raman chose not to comment on the panel’s recommendations except to say he appreciated the clean chit given to him.

“I have not yet read the report. So I would not want to comment on it. I have heard that I have been given a clean chit and I appreciate it but there is nothing more I want to add,” Raman, who resigned from his post in November, said. On the allegation that there were 350 telephone contacts between Raman and actor Vindoo Dara Singh, the report said evidence revealed by the investigating team showed calls/SMS between them was on 15 occasions only and there were no telephone calls between them during IPL 2013.”There were no telephone calls between them during IPL 2013. There is no evidence on record to show that Sundar Raman had the knowledge of Vindoo Dara Singh being a bookie or indulging in betting.

“The statement of I S Bindra and the documents seized from the residents of N S Virk, ACSU-ICC also do not indicate any positive evidence to show that Sundar Raman had the knowledge that Vindoo Dara Singh was a bookie or involved in cricket betting.

“In the absence of any positive evidence to that effect, the allegations leveled against him fail,” the report of three-member committee also comprising justices R V Raveendran and Ashok Bhan said.
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