Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Shashank Manohar on Thursday rubbished charges of impropriety by its secretary N Srinivasan, whose India Cements owns the Chennai franchise of Indian Premier League (IPL).
As charges both by IPL Commissioner Lalit K Modi and those in the opposing camp of the cricket administration flew thick and fast, Manohar said Srinivasan's role in securing the franchise for Chennai Super Kings was above board.
Maintaining that then BCCI president and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had given an okay to India Cements to bid for IPL, Manohar also slammed the IPL commissioner for not declaring to the governing council that his own relatives were part owners of IPL teams.
"It is not that Mr. Srinivasan is bidding. It is India Cements company which is bidding and it is a public limited company," Manohar told reporters at the headquarters of the board here, with the India Cements vice chairman and managing director by his side.
"It is most unfair to say Mr. Srinivasan was a declared bidder. If Mr Modi and his other relatives had a share in any of the franchises, he ought to have declared it at the meeting," the BCCI chief maintained.
Referring to the meeting of the governing council of IPL scheduled April 26 in the wake of charges of financial irregularities by the league and its franchises, Manohar said there was no misconduct on the part of Srinivasan in convening it.
"He (Srinivasan) is not calling the meeting as the owner of a team. Under the board constitution, the secretary is the convenor of all meetings. Even today I don't convene a meeting, being the board president," he said.
"Whether he (Srinivasan) has a conflict of interest is not an issue because Srinivasan, when the issue came up, had sought permission from Mr. Pawar who was then president of this board. Mr. Pawar granted him permission to bid."
Modi had questioned the legality of the scheduled governing council meeting Wednesday and said only he had the powers to convene the same.
Manohar also sought to clear his name from another controversy over the gag orders on Modi to refrain from revealing the names of IPL franchises, claiming there was a confidentiality clause they were bound by.
On the contrary, the BCCI president said, the IPL commissioner was curiously selective in leaking the names of one of the franchises -- a leak that resulted in the resignation of Shashi Tharoor as minister of state for external affairs.
He said he had asked Modi to keep quiet, since one of the franchises had said there was a confidentiality clause in not revealing the names of its owners and accordingly wanted to discuss the issue at the governing council meeting.