New Delhi | Posted: December 2, 2014 1:31 am | Updated: December 2, 2014 11:35 am
With ousted BCCI chief N Srinivasan facing allegations of conflict of interest, his counsel, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, told the Supreme Court on Monday that the IPL “may not even take place” if such standards are applied, as “several” people are associated with both the BCCI and the IPL.”
“There are several persons who hold various positions in the BCCI and are also associated with the IPL. The term ‘administrator’ under the impugned rule would include a wide range of people in the BCCI. Individuals like Sunil Gavaskar, Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble would also be covered under this definition since they have different roles in the BCCI but they are also associated with the IPL,” said Sibal.
He argued before a bench led by Justice TS Thakur that if conflict of interest was to be gauged with this yardstick, then hundreds of persons would come under its shadow. The counsel argued that 364 names – including the likes of Ravi Shastri, Venketesh Prasad and Lalchand Rajput – have been part of both the cricket administration and the IPL over the last seven editions of the tournament”
“The IPL may not even take place if the rule is to be interpreted in this manner,” Sibal asserted.
The arguments in the court proceeded on Rule 6.2.4 of the BCCI, which exempted the IPL and Champions League Twenty20 from the general rule that no administrator, officer, player or umpire shall have any direct or indirect commercial interest in matches or events conducted by the Board.
Sibal rejected the argument that conflict of interest would be obvious if a person holding a position in the BCCI is also associated with an IPL-related venture. Srinivasan has been facing the co’rt’s criticism over his stake in the Chennai Super Kings, although he was the BCCI chief. Srinivasan is the managing director of India Cements, which owns CSK.
Several retired cricketers who have been associated with the BCCI in different capacities are also associated with the IPL as players, mentors or coaches, while some others have taken up assignments relating to commentary.
On the last date of hearing, the bench had said Srinivasan’s “conflict of interest was obvious” since as the BCCI chief, it was his duty to ensure that the game remains clean, but, as a CSK owner, his interest was to see that his team wins the tournament. The court said there could be no justification available to him after it had been held by the Mudgal probe panel that officials of his team were found involved in corrupt activities.