I Find the Opportunity Daunting: Justice Mudgal
Justice Mukul Mudgal is the man given the responsibility of investigating the IPL spotfixing and betting controversy. In his first interview since being chosen, Justice Mudgal talks to Boria Majumdar about the task he’s been given. You now have extraordinary powers to investigate the issue. How do you look at it, is it an opportunity or do you find the challenge daunting? You can say the ‘opportunity’ is ‘daunting’. It is a huge responsibility and I am looking at it as an opportunity. We have worked for four months in trying to get to the root of the problem within the framework of the limited mandate we had and now we have the opportunity to really investigate the matter. As I said, I find the opportunity daunting. I wouldn’t be wrong in saying world cricket is looking at what the Mudgal Committee will do. Your thoughts. I think that’s overstating things a bit. We have a mandate to look into one aspect of the problem. To expect that we can cleanse the game as a whole would be to expect too much. Sometimes people’s expectations tend to be a little unreasonable. We need to stay within the parameters of our mandate. Let’s not be overambitious to start with and say we can clean cricket as a whole. Rather, I would like to say that we will investigate the IPL problem to its very core and try to do it objectively and rationally. Let me ask you a hypothetical question—if any one of the 13 individuals is found to be guilty, what will you do? Considering each of these people are icons in their own right, will you be able to deal with the situation objectively? Of course. Let me state one thing clearly— the game of cricket is bigger than any individual and our task is to ensure the game remains that way. We will be entirely objective in our investigation and will always keep in mind that we are doing it for the game, which is why these icons exist in the first place. We will not be taken by whether someone is an icon. All we are concerned with is the sanctity and welfare of cricket. And what about the time frame? You now need to investigate 13 high profile names. I am sure this will entail interviewing each of them and a host of others and you will have to be discreet in doing so. With the Indian team travelling in June-July, how do you propose to conduct the investigation in three-anda-half months? It is too early to comment on this question. There is no doubt that the task assigned to us is complex and is a huge responsibility. There is also no doubt that we will be discreet. But, whether or not we need three months or more is impossible to state at this point in time. If we think we need more time and have real reasons to believe so, I have no doubt that the Court will grant us an extension. But, there is no reason to speculate on this issue now. You have been invested with extraordinary powers. In fact, you can do almost everything except make an arrest. How do you see this? We have been given enormous investigative powers. Now it is upon us to ensure we use the powers justly and make sure no one is hurt or defamed unnecessarily. That is something we will guard against from the outset and ensure that the power is exercised properly. So, when do you propose to start out with the investigation formally? Very shortly. I am on a holiday till 23rd May and once I am back, we will get going with the task at hand. It will be important we choose the right people for the job.