The coming few weeks could well determine Board chief N Srinivasan’s future in cricket administration. The Supreme Court has set August 29 for hearing BCCI’s plea on the legal standing of its two-man probe panel that investigated the Indian T20 league spot-fixing scandal.
To add to Srinivasan’s woes, around this time another case crucial to his administrative career is also lined up for hearing in the Supreme Court - the conflict of interest case filed by AC Muthiah. A negative verdict in either case will be a blow to Srinivasan’s hopes of returning to the helm of Indian cricket.
Muthiah, the former BCCI president who brought Srinivasan into cricket administration before the two industrialists fell out, has always claimed that the best way to fight the Indian Cements boss is in the courtroom. And for a long time, Muthiah has drawn Srinivasan into a legal fight with a case over conflict of interest.
“Everyday it (the case) is getting listed, but the judges are not free, so it could come up for hearing anytime. There is a clear conflict of interest. A three-member bench will be hearing the case,” a high-profile member of the Muthiah camp told HT.
Srinivasan’s two-year term as BCCI president comes to an end in September and a one-year extension during the AGM had seemed a formality. However, now it could depend on the outcome of these two cases.
Muthiah had filed a petition in the Supreme Court in April 2010 challenging Srinivasan’s right to hold a position in the Board while holding a stake in an Indian Twenty20 league franchise - the Chennai Super Kings. Until September 2008, BCCI regulation (Clause 6.2.4) stated that ‘any administrator could not have, directly or indirectly, any commercial interest in the matches or events conducted by the board’.
However, the clause was amended to allow the Board administrator to hold a stake in the T20 league team. Srinivasan, then the treasurer, became the de facto owner of the CSK since he was the Managing Director of India Cements, which bought CSK. Since then Muthiah has been fighting the case.
Muthiah approached the apex court after the Madras high court dismissed his plea. A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court then delivered a split verdict, meaning the petition had to be referred to the Chief Justice for allocating it to a larger bench. It will now be heard by a three-member bench.
Srinivasan first became the BCCI treasurer (2005 to 2008), then, served as the secretary (2008 to 2011) before taking over as the president in September 2011.