A defiant Board president, N Srinivasan, will chair Friday’s working committee meeting despite the Bombay high court ruling its two-member probe panel was “illegal and unconstitutional”.
The BCCI secretary, Sanjay Patel, made it clear Srinivasan has taken charge, having stepped aside after his son-in-law and Chennai Super Kings official, Gurunath Meiyappan, was arrested for alleged betting.
“He is the BCCI chief and he has already started working. There is no confusion as to who will chair the meeting. Nobody till now has forced him to quit.”
Despite the Bombay high court order, BCCI officials say legally there is nothing to stop Srinivasan from chairing the meeting. This was also conceded by the lawyer of Aditya Verma, secretary of the non-affiliated Cricket Association of Bihar, on whose PIL the court had ruled.
The order came two days after the BCCI said the inquiry panel of two retired high court judges had cleared India Cements, which owns CSK, the Rajasthan Royals and its co-owner, Raj Kundra, of any wrongdoing in the T2) spot fixing scandal, thus clearing Srinivasan’s return. Even some BCCI officials felt he should not ignore the court order, which they felt indicted the board.
In fact, there are demands from within the BCCI to appoint a fresh probe panel. Former treasurer Ajay Shirke, who quit after the row over Meiyappan, and vice-president, Niranjan Shah, have said the probe findings have dented the Board’s image.
“In recent times, the Board’s image has really gone down. We must do something to improve that because cricket is very important,” Shah, a former secretary, said. However, neither Shirke nor Shah are members of the working committee. It is learnt former president, IS Bindra, a vocal critic of Srinivasan, may not attend Friday’s meeting.
Former BCCI secretary, Jaywant Lele, said the appointment of secretary Sanjay Patel, treasurer Ravi Sawant and even Jagmohan Dalmiya as interim president were not ratified by the general body as required by the BCCI constitution. “That makes the current set-up illegal.”
However, BCCI’s internal politics is likely to dictate things. “It is necessary for Srinivasan, in his own interest, to chair the meeting with respect to the forthcoming elections,” a BCCI official said on condition of anonymity.
“There is pressure from within BCCI to appoint a fresh probe panel and include members of the IPL governing council and the Board, in the wake of the court verdict. Srinivasan wants to get into the president’s seat as soon as possible, which is why the panel gave its verdict so hastily. He wants to take charge of the affairs.”