The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked BCCI chief N Srinivasan to step down immediately to ensure a fair probe into the fixing scandal that rocked IPL 6, saying his clinging to the position was “nauseating”.
The controversial Board of Control for Cricket president, who has staved off demands to step down even after involvement of his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan in the scandal was proved, may find hard to continue this time. The court has given him two days, failing which it “will give a verdict”.
“Why are you still there? It’s so nauseating. We don’t like to damage reputations but feel that unless the president steps down no fair investigation can take place,” a bench headed by justice AK Patnaik said. “Why don’t you give way for an independent probe? If you don’t step down, we will give a verdict.”
Piling pressure, three BCCI vice-presidents and many former cricketers and administrators asked the 69-year-old Srinivasan, who also owns the IPL team Chennai Super Kings, to respect the court’s observations.
The BCCI was given two days to respond. The case will now be heard on March 27.
Srinivasan could request the court to allow him to step down during the period of the investigation and resume charge, if cleared, sources close to him said.
He had employed the same tactics when the spot-fixing scandal blew up. Srinivasan had “stepped aside” during an internal probe by two retired judges -- the panel exonerated him.
The court questioned the clean chit given to him by the BCCI-appointed panel. “The report by your panel found there was nothing wrong… If you have managed the report, what would be the consequences?” the court asked.
The court, too, had set up a committee to probe the fixing charges under retired Punjab and Haryana chief justice Mukul Mudgal and the panel submitted two reports.
In its first report, the Mudgal panel said Meiyappan, who was arrested and later released on bail, was indeed a CSK official and charges of betting and passing information to the bookies against him stood proved.
It said fixing allegations against him and Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra needed further investigation. It also blamed India Cements, owner of CSK, for failing to comply with the board’s anti-corruption code.
A second report, containing “sensitive information”, was submitted under a sealed cover.
When board’s counsel after senior advocate CA Sundaram stood up to defend Srinivasan, justice Pantnaik said, “I will show you the sealed report and then you honestly ask yourself as a counsel, and not as a paid counsel of Srinivasan, as to what is the right course.” He called the counsel to the dais and showed him the gist of the report. After a brief conversation, the bench gave him time to come back with a response.
Earlier, the court said the Mudgal panel said allegations were such that the board couldn’t be entrusted with them. “Why should this happen at all if cricket has to remain clean. The problem is people who are in control are not taking proper decisions.”
The scandal surfaced when S Sreesanth of Rajasthan Royals and his two teammates were arrested from Mumbai on May 16, 2013 on suspicion of taking money to concede a fixed number of runs.