Arbitrator Justice BN Srikrishna, who stayed the Rajasthan Royals's expulsion from the Indian Premier League (IPL) for six weeks on Tuesday, has recused himself from a similar case involving Kings XI Punjab.
Appointed by the Bombay High Court as arbitrator in the tussle between the two expelled teams and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Justice Srikrishna told the two parties on Wednesday that as a lawyer nearly 20 years ago, he had represented the Wadia group in various cases.
The Wadia group is a stakeholder in the Kings XI team.
"It was my duty to reveal this. As the BCCI expressed some reservation on learning this, I decided to recuse myself," Justice Srikrishna told HT from Mumbai. The Kings XI case will have to wait now, till the court appoints another arbitrator.
The BCCI doesn't think these developments will destabilise IPL IV, scheduled to start next April, given the fact that it's still not clear how many teams will bid in the players' auction, in Mumbai on January 8 and 9.
As of now, there are seven teams and Rajasthan Royals, who are eligible to participate in the auctions following Justice Srikrishna's stay order on Tuesday. The fate of Kings XI hangs in the balance, just as that of the Kochi franchisee.
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"As far as we are concerned, we will go ahead with the auctions as scheduled. We have expelled two teams after consulting our lawyers. Now, we will do what the court says. It doesn't bother us whether eight teams are bidding for the players or 10," the BCCI president Shashank Manohar told HT from Nagpur.
Manohar reiterated the BCCI's stand to challenge Justice Srikrishna's stay order on the expulsion of the Royals. "We are moving court tomorrow (Thursday). As for Kings XI, we will wait till the court appoints another arbitrator. Be it eight teams or 10, the IPL will go ahead."
The affected franchisees said the BCCI knew about Justice Srikrishna's association with the Wadia group. Sources in the franchisees claimed that the "arbitrator had disclosed this during the arbitration proceedings in the dispute between the BCCI and the Rajasthan Royals".