The Madras high court sentenced IPS officer Sampath Kumar to 15 days in jail for contempt after a petition filed by cricketer MS Dhoni accused him of making “contumacious” statements against the judiciary regarding an alleged IPL betting scam.
The division bench of Justices SS Sundar and Sunder Mohan said the sentence would remain suspended for 30 days to enable the police officer to appeal the ruling.
In his written December 17, 2021 response to Dhoni’s defamation suit against him, Sampath Kumar made insinuations against the Supreme Court that were highlighted by the cricketer.
“He (Sampath Kumar) has stated that the Supreme Court deviated its focus on the rule of law and shelved the deposition of the Justice Mudgal Committee (constituted to probe the 2013 match-fixing allegations) and kept it in a sealed cover for reasons he failed to comprehend,” states Dhoni’s contempt plea.
Sampath Kumar also alleged that the Supreme Court had a motive in not providing the sealed cover to CBI officer Vivek Priyandarshini for investigation, the petition says.
The IPS officer also maligned and disrespected the high court, making false allegations against designated senior counsels of the court, including the office of the advocate general of Tamil Nadu, Dhoni’s plea alleged.
Dhoni, the captain of the Chennai Super Kings, initially filed a ₹100 crore defamation suit against Sampath Kumar, who was serving with the CID department of Tamil Nadu Police, and a television channel in 2014 for levelling match-fixing allegations against him in the Indian Premier League betting case.
The cricketer later filed a contempt petition against the officer – he turned 60 this May and retired – and cited disparaging remarks made by the IPS officer against the Supreme Court and the Madras high court.
Sampath Kumar had carried out the initial probe in the 2013 IPL betting case. He was later taken off the case and suspended following allegations of taking bribes from some bookies to let them off the hook.
The police officer, who was cleared of the accusation by a trial court in 2019 citing inadequate evidence, has maintained that he was framed to stop him from unearthing the scam in its entirety.