The BCCI on Thursday strongly refuted charges that all its activities are being kept away from the public eye, that it enjoyed tax exemption and that its affairs are being conducted illegally to the detriment of public interest. It sought to dismiss a PIL seeking a direction to the ministry of youth and sports affairs to take over both the board and the Indian T20 League.
Countering the allegations on a PIL filed by advocate V Sankarakumaresan, BCCI honorary secretary S Sanjay Patel said the PIL relied purely on news reports and as such was without any specific detail which would suggest genuine cause of action.
On complaints against the T20 League season, he said BCCI had taken action 'without fear or favour' against individuals concerned. Three cricketers were arrested on charges of spot-fixing and had been suspended from all cricketing activities. Complaint had been received with regard to a team owner who reportedly admitted to having betted on T20 matches.
He said two sets of disciplinary proceedings are currently on. As per rule 32(II) of BCCI rules and Regulations, a Commissioner has been appointed to give a report on spot-fixing charges against players arrested by Delhi Police in Mumbai.
Patel pointed out that the commissioner, former DGO Ravi Sawani, has now called the players to provide their oral statements in response to the charges of spot-fixing.
On complaints against the managements of franchises Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings, he said BCCI had appointed an independent commission, comprising former justices T Jayarama Chouta and R Balasubramanian to inquire against Gurunath Meiyappan of India Cements (owner of CSK franchise) and Jaipur IPL Private Ltd, owner of the RR.
The working committee had decided the complaint against Raj Kundra would also be referred to the same commission. Unless the petitioner could show BCCI had acted against the law, no cause of action could be presumed for filing the PIL.
Patel said the BCCI was a founder member of the ICC and there could be only one membership for every cricket playing nation. So, the team selected by it is called the Indian cricket team. Hence, the prayer for interim relief to prevent BCCI from using the name Indian cricket team was frivolous, he said.
He termed as "vague and unsubstantiated" the charge that BCCI was concentrated on earning money. BCCI promotes cricket by establishing an organised structure involving coaching, training and physical fitness even at grassroot level, he said.
The charge that BCCI made profit only to fill the pockets of a few individuals was highly demeaning and patently unfair. BCCI administrators are in honorary positions, he said.
BCCI accounts are uploaded on the website and there is sufficient transparencey as far as its accounts are concerned.
Patel also termed as incorrect the charge that BCCI receives grants, donations and contributions. BCCI had been denied tax exemption but this did not automatically mean there was tax evasion, he said.
He said the petitioner's figures that BCCI revenue was Rs 274.86 crore in 2006-07 and tax would be Rs 120 crore did not reflect the current position. The accounts were audited in time. The extract of a statement attributed to former minister MS Gill could not be the basis for this PIL, he said, adding BCCI is obliged to conduct an inquiry (into match fixing etc)as per rules and it was being done.
Patel said there is no urgency to move the PIL since more than 25 players were involved in match-fixing or spot-fixing. Charges of involvement of a Ranji player and others and a Railway squad cricketer may be arrested were as yet untested in a court of law, he said.
Stating that none of the interim relief sought by the petitioner is maintainable, he contended the advocate had 'deliberately' indulged in filing a vexatious and frivolous petition under the guise of PIL, which should be castigated by the court.