N Srinivasan told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that he could not be barred from contesting for the BCCI president’s post, as the court asked him to choose between owning the Chennai Super Kings IPL team and the board.
Representing Srinivasan, senior lawyer Kapil Sibal said his client could not be prevented from fighting the election this month as it would harm his integrity and reputation.
He said Srinivasan could step aside while either a court-appointed committee or the Justice Mukul Mudgal panel probing spot-fixing and betting allegations in the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament, could decide the quantum of punishment for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) teams that were found guilty.
However, the court said it would prefer a board without Srinivasan to take action against CSK or its principal promoter and Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan.
The two-judge bench reprimanded Srinivasan for attending BCCI's working committee meetings as a member of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association when he was not board president.
“The whole rationale behind recusing was to disassociate yourself from any decision making process. But, as late as November 18 you attended a meeting,” the court said. “We understand your passion for the game but don’t be so passionate.”
The Mudgal panel, constituted to investigate spot-fixing and betting allegations in the 2013 IPL, presented its findings in a sealed envelope to the apex court last month. The committee said Srinivasan, who was both BCCI president and promoter of India Cements — the company that owns CSK — turned a blind eye to betting and fixing during the tournament.
Srinivasan has remained defiant despite his son-in-law Meiyappan being found guilty of the charges and was asked by the Supreme Court to step aside as BCCI chief in March.
The lid was blown off the multi-crore scam when Delhi Police arrested three players in a midnight raid in Mumbai last year. Meiyappan and Bollywood actor Vindoo Dara Singh were also arrested, but were out on bail.
The court has reprimanded Srinivasan time and again during the course of the hearing on the Mudgal committee report, bringing up the issue of conflict of interest as he was promoter of a company that owned a team featuring in a tournament run by the BCCI when he was president of the board.
The court has to take a decision on whether Srinivasan can contest the board president’s election before December 17 as it closes for the winter break after that.