N Srinivasan’s days as the Chennai Super Kings supremo looks all but over. The Supreme Court didn’t just issue a directive that office-bearers can’t have commercial interests in BCCI endeavours, it also struck down the controversial amendment in rules that allowed Srinivasan to buy an IPL team.
So, for the Chennai industrialist to contest the BCCI elections --- expected to be held in early March to meet the court’s six-week deadline --- he will have to give up the team.
Srinivasan will have to manage the legal aspects of selling the franchise. The CSK has already been de-merged, and turned from a division of India Cements Limited into a wholly-owned subsidiary. How the team changes hands will be interesting to watch. But the team’s fate is unclear as of now. Even if he sells the team, the Apex court’s three member panel will have to decide on punishments for two team officials, CSK’s Gurunath Meiyappan and Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra. That can even lead to the termination of the two franchises.
However, the panel has six months to complete its assignment and it is unlikely to deliver its verdicts on the teams before the board elections are over. The internal politics of the BCCI is also expected to play a role in how smoothly the CSK ‘sale’ goes through, according to observers.
Lawyer Rahul Mehra said Srinivasan will give up CSK to stay in power. “Make no mistake about that. There are two things regarding whether CSK remains a franchise or not. If the panel doesn’t get into it by then (before AGM) he will dump it. If it’s terminated, then it will be end of the road for CSK and there will be no conflict of interest for Srinivasan to answer. “He can always find a dummy candidate to run CSK. Anyway MS Dhoni (CSK skipper) is his right-hand man and an employee of India Cements. So, Srinivasan or Dhoni, it will be the same thing.”
Mehra believes the larger interest now will be what recommendations the panel makes for the board’s transparent functioning. “Only individual malaise has been dealt with; systemic malaise needs to be dealt with.”
Supreme Court lawyer, Raj Kamal Handoo, felt Srinivasan won’t face too much trouble. “He can always sell or transfer his CSK shares. And if CSK has been de-merged from India Cements and made a subsidiary of the holding company, then his transfer or sale of shares will not affect his stake in the parent company.” The decision to turn it into a subsidiary from January 1 was taken in September last.