NEW DELHI: A defiant N Srinivasan was Friday forced to drop his desperate bid to reinstate himself as BCCI president after the under-fire Board called off its working committee meeting, fearing legal trouble in the wake of an adverse Bombay high court order.
Srinivasan, who was expected to resume charge as BCCI president at the meeting, will have to wait on the sidelines for a longer period with Jagmohan Dalmiya continuing as the interim chief.
The BCCI decided to appeal in the Supreme Court against the Bombay high court order, which had declared the Board’s IPL spot-fixing probe as “illegal and unconstitutional”.
Before the working committee meeting was called off, the IPL’s governing council decided to reconstitute its ethics commission, where two positions were lying vacant following resignations of Ajay Shirke (treasurer) and Sanjay Jagdale (honorary secretary).
“At its meeting in Delhi earlier today, the IPL governing council (Mr. N. Srinivasan having recused himself) considered at length, the issues arising from the Bombay high court’s order regarding the constitution of the probe commission, which was formed to investigate the complaints made by the BCCI against India Cements Limited, Jaipur IPL Cricket Private Limited, Mr. Gurunath Meiyappan and Mr Raj Kundra, the BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said in a statement.
“As a matter of principle, the members confirmed that it was important that the governing council’s actions be seen to be both legally and ethically correct.
“The governing council believes that the probe commission was properly constituted in accordance with the IPL Operational Rules, and has consequently decided that an appeal should be filed in the Honourable Supreme Court,” he added.
Srinivasan rescued himself from the meeting while this decision was taken but returned after that.
“This decision having been made, Mr. N Srinivasan rejoined the meeting and, in the light of the pending appeal to the Supreme Court, requested Mr Jagmohan Dalmiya to continue discharging his functions at the BCCI for the present,” Patel said.
Briefing reporters, the BCCI’s game development manager Ratnakar Shetty said BCCI vice president Arun Jaitley explained the finer details of the high court order to the IPL governing council.
“Today morning there was a meeting of the IPL governing council. Mr Arun Jaitley explained the important points of the Bombay high court order. There was a discussion in the committee and the committee decided to file an SLP (Special Leave Petition) in the Supreme Court,” he said.
“The committee took the decision to replace members who have resigned. Sanjay Patel (honorary secretary) and Ravi Sawant (treasurer) will replace Ajay Shirke and Sanjay Jagdale in the Ethics Commission.
“Mr Srinivasan recused himself from the IPL governing council meeting and it was only after that the meeting started and the decisions were taken,” he added.
BCCI vice president Niranjan Shah, however, refuted suggestions that Srinivasan has been left isolated in the Board.
“It is not a setback to Srinivasan and whatever decision we took today will help improve public perception about the BCCI,” he said.
The decision to call off the working committee meeting was taken after a series of discussions among the top brass of the BCCI and amid fears of a revolt against the Tamil Nadu strongman if he tried to make a comeback under the circumstances.
BCCI sources said it took intense persuasion from Jaitley, also a legal luminary, Dalmiya and IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla for Srinivasan to back down from his adamant stand.
The BCCI also feared more legal complications if Srinivasan returned to the top post and chaired the working committee meeting since the probe, which cleared his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, had been declared illegal by the court.
Srinivasan was told that his return as BCCI president could lead to a wave of Public Interest Litigations across the country, creating more embarrassment for the Board.
It is also learnt that two vice presidents and some other top officials were threatening to resign if Srinivasan chaired the meeting.
Srinivasan was apparently unhappy with the outcome but after consultation with his legal team arrived at a conclusion that it was better to call off the meeting.
The other “major technical flaw” regarding this meeting was not having the word emergency mentioned when the working committee members had been summoned.
“The meeting itself is technically invalid as one needed to mention the word emergency if one calls for a working committee meeting 72 hours within the last meeting,” said a BCCI official.
The IPL spot-fixing scandal broke out when India pacer S Sreesanth, along with two other Rajasthan Royals players Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan and 11 bookies, was arrested for alleged spot-fixing in the IPL.
The contracts of the tainted players were terminated by their franchise, which also lodged a criminal complaint against them.
It snowballed into a crisis for the BCCI when Board Srinivasan’s son-in-law and Chennai Super Kings team principal Meiyappan was arrested on charges of betting on May 26.
A internal probe panel, originally comprising two retired judges and the then BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale, was constituted on May 28 to investigate the allegations against Meiyappan, who maintained his innocence after getting bail.
Srinivasan, who owns the CSK franchise, remained defiant through the turmoil and refused to resign but had to step aside as BCCI president after a stormy emergent Board meeting on June 2 where Dalmiya took charge of an interim arrangement to run the Board’s affairs pending the inquiry.
The upheaval led to the resignations of Board secretary Sanjay Jagdale and treasurer Ajay Shirke, who asked for Srinivasan’s resignation on moral grounds.