IPL Chairman Rajiv Shukla smiles during a press conference at the IPL player auction in Bangalore. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
Beleaguered BCCI president N Srinivasan on Wednesday found himself under intense pressure to quit after two BCCI heavyweights, IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla and Board vice-president Arun Jaitley, asked him to "stay away" till investigations against his son-in-law were completed in the IPL spot-fixing scandal.
A day after senior Board functionary Jyotiraditya Scindia raised the first voice of dissent, Shukla and Jaitley joined forces to create pressure on Srinivasan to stay away for the sake of Indian cricket's image.
It also indicated a hardening of stand among some of the key members of the Board who are active politicians and could prompt others to make similar demands.
"He is an elected president. We are of the view, even Mr Jaitley feels so, that it would be good if he stays away from this procedure. We have made this suggestion and the decision on this matter is upto him. He has told us that he is not at fault and why should he be punished," Shukla told reporters after meeting Jaitley in New Delhi.
Ever since the scandal broke out, Srinivasan has shown defiance, refusing to quit and insisting that his resignation is only being sought by a "hounding media".
Srinivasan's son-in-law and Chennai Super Kings CEO Gurunath Meiyappan has been arrested by the Mumbai Police for alleged involvement in betting.
Shukla said the three-member inquiry committee, which is probing Meiyappan and the allegations against three Rajasthan Royals players and its franchise as well as the Chennai Super Kings, would be fair and its report should be implemented without consulting the BCCI. MORE PTI PM MRM MRM
"A probe committee has been made and we wanted majority of them to be outsiders, that's why we have brought in two judges. We have suggested the report should not go to the BCCI, the findings should be recommended as it is. This is what we want," Shukla said.
"We want an impartial probe and all the guilty should be strictly punished. We are waiting for the probe report now," he added.
Justice T Jayaram Chouta, former Judge of the Karnataka and Madras High Courts, Justice R Balasubramanian, former Judge of the Madras high court, and BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale are members of the Commission.
"We have spoken to all Board members and we spoke about the Board's image and the cricket's image as well. We discussed all issues," said Shukla when asked what exactly he discussed with Jaitley in the meeting today.
Today's development marks a significant shift in the Board's stand on the raging controversy.
Both Shukla and Jaitley had never come on record to call for Srinivasan's ouster, raising speculation that they may have come under some pressure in the wake of media's continued focus on the controversy.
With three BCCI office-bearers, all of whom political bigwigs, seeking Srinivasan's temporary ouster, it will be interesting to see what stand the Tamil Nadu strongman will take having all along maintain that nobody from the Board had asked him to quit.
It is learnt that both Shukla and Jaitley had gently told Srinivasan to step down on grounds of propriety during their meeting in Kolkata on Sunday but he steadfastly refused to do so.