Friday, September 27, 2013

SC allows Srinivasan to contest BCCI polls, but conditions apply

Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 | Place: New Delhi |

Two days before the annual general meeting (AGM) of the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI), the noose around its president N Srinivasan has been tightened after the Supreme Court directed on Friday that "he won't be allowed to take control till it decides on his fate."

With this, the pressure is now mounting on Srinivasan not to seek a third year as president of the BCCI in view of his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, who was team principal of Chennai Super Kings, being charged by Mumbai police with betting during this year's Indian Premier League.

A senior BCCI official has now told dna that "a serious rethink has been going on before the Sunday's AGM", and there is a strong possibility that it could even be postponed to some other date in order to buy some time.

"This is a huge embarrassment to all of us in BCCI. No one is above the game of cricket and certainly we will put pressure on Srinivasan to reconsider his earlier decision to contest third term.

"But as there is little time left, there is a likelihood that all the members could be persuaded to postpone it for few days to avoid any further embarrassment," said a senior Board official on condition of anonymity.

Asked why no one is coming out in the open to oppose Srinivasan, the official stated, "Don't think that everyone in BCCI is mutely watching all the wrong doings. Don't forget that it was pressure from all of us which forced him (Srinivasan) to step aside some three months back. This time, too, our silence should not be taken as our surrender," the official added.

Srinivasan enjoys a comfortable majority within the state associations and the outcome of the election is hardly in doubt if he decides to contest the elections.

"A postponement could be a suitable step right now because what will happen if he wins election and then the Supreme Court rules against him?" asked the BCCI functionary.

"Will it then not be a huge embarrassment for the game of cricket? And, no one but Srinivasan would be responsible for that."

The Apex Court, while allowing Srinivasan to contest the election, has nevertheless clipped his wings by stating that "he can only discharge his duties after the Court decides on his fate."

Srinivasan's lawyers argued that his daughter chose his son-in-law and not him. But he failed to explain Meiyappan's presence at the CSK team dug-out during the IPL matches.

During the hearing, a bench headed by Justice AK Patnaik remarked: "Why he is in charge (as the BCCI president) if his son-in-law is chargesheeted? Why are you (Srinivasan) so keen to be elected?"

Even if Srinivasan took no time to demote his son-in-law from the post of "team principal" to a mere "cricket enthusiast", no one, including the Apex Court, is ready to take his argument seriously.

Mumbai police has chargesheeted Meiyappan for various crimes, including betting on his own team matches. The court directed the matter be listed for Monday.

Cricket Association of Bihar secretary Aditya Verma on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking to restrain Srinivasan from getting re-elected as the president of the BCCI on the ground that his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan is facing probe on the allegations of spot fixing and betting.
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