A defiant N Srinivasan bent on resuming duties as BCCI president on Friday was relegated to an inactive role once again as the cricket body decided to call off the meet he had made up his mind to chair.
Srinivasan was to preside over the crucial working committee meeting in spite of the Bombay high court terming as “illegal” an internal BCCI inquiry into the spot-fixing scandal. The cricket body chief had agreed to “step aside” in the wake of the probe and was set to return to an active role on Friday after the inquiry found all accused to be innocent.
But that was until the HC order put a spoke in his wheel.
Even then, Srinivasan wasn’t willing to give in easily. It took some persuading by Jagmohan Dalmiya and some senior board officials to finally make him “step aside” again. It was decided that Dalmiya would continue as the interim chief till the issues are resolved. It was also decided that the BCCI will appeal the HC ruling in the Supreme Court.
“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 affairs,” said a board official.
But Friday’s turn of events clearly indicate that the hitherto iron-grip of the cement baron on BCCI has weakened, especially with signs that behind-the-scenes parleys are picking up ahead of the September annual general body meeting and elections. Sources said the resistance from the members has shaken up Srinivasan more than the HC order.
There were reports that sharp criticism by Niranjan Shah, current vice-president and a past secretary, and resignation threats by him and another vice-president forced Srinivasan’s hand. Shah welcomed the outcome and said it was important to salvage the image of the board.
The IPL’s governing council met in the morning. While Srinivasan stayed away, it decided that the BCCI would appeal against the Bombay high court observations by filing a special leave petition in the Supreme Court. It did endorse the probe panel, saying it was constituted in accordance with the “IPL rules”, but cancelled the subsequent working committee meeting.
BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said the meeting that could have ratified the probe report was called off because of legality - as it was called only a few days earlier, only an “emergent” meeting could have been called but that prefix was left out of the notice sent to members. However, it was clear that the BCCI did not want to antagonise the court and expose itself to more legal challenges.
As things stand, a successful appeal in the Supreme Court would be crucial if Srinivasan has to quickly regain ground.