Raman cleared in betting scandal

Lodha Panel finds no 'cogent evidence' against former IPL COO

Raman cleared in betting scandal

The Supreme Court-appointed committee headed by former Chief Justice of India, RM Lodha has absolved former IPL COO Sundar Raman of charges of 2013 spot-fixing and betting scandal in its report, following absence of “cogent evidence.”

The three-member committee concluded none of the allegations, seven in total, could be substantiated to justify any action against Raman. While the committee was critical of Raman’s omission in informing the IPL Governing Council about the betting activities in 2013, it felt it was without "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 stated.

Raman was implicated by the Justice (retd.) Mukul Mudgal probe committee, where Raman was referred to as Individual 12, and in its findings said he had known a bookie whom he contacted eight times in one season of the IPL.

It was also alleged there were 350 telephone contacts between Raman and actor Vindoo Dara Singh. However, the Lodha Committee report observed the “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 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 Sh. I.S. Bindra and the documents seized from the residents of Sh. 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.”

On his proximity with actress Nupur Mehta, the two had contacted each other by calls and messages on 11 occasions, the investigating officer exonerated him on the grounds of lack of evidence.

“Although having regard to the position Raman was holding in the IPL, he ought to have shown better discretion in keeping in touch with an unknown person... But having said that we find that there is nothing on record other than a few calls of a very short duration to indicate that Raman had knowledge of the suspicious activities of Mehta at the relevant time.

"In the absence of any firm evidence, it cannot reasonably be inferred that exchanges between them was for betting or any other corrupt motive,” the report said.

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