Corruption in the IPL August 2, 2013

Why working committee meet was cancelled

The prospect of being confronted by some of his critics is understood to be one of the main reasons BCCI president N Srinivasan decided to call off the working committee meeting in Delhi on Friday. Although the BCCI cited technicality being the main reason for cancelling the meeting, even that was contested by some of its members. 

The working committee was scheduled to discuss the inquiry commission report on the IPL corruption scandal immediately after the conclusion of the league's governing council meeting. However, once the governing council had decided that the BCCI would challenge the Bombay High Court order that had called the constitution of the probe panel as "illegal", senior board officials  decided that there was no agenda for the working committee to discuss.

Incidentally, BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel had pointed out that the meeting was cancelled owing to technical reasons. "Every member knew what the meeting was called for. The meeting was called off as there was a slight mistake in issuing the notice," Patel told an unscheduled media briefing. "By mistake the word 'emergent' was not written. A normal working committee meeting requires more time. Unfortunately it was just four days time. To avoid the technicality of it, the meeting was cancelled."

A working committee member, who had travelled to Delhi, echoed Patel's statement. "Usually there are seven days needed for a working committee meeting to be convened but this time the period was too small. And since we were never told it was an emergent working committee meeting, there was no point sticking around," he told ESPNcricinfo.

However, that it was not a unanimous sentiment became clear when another working committee member told ESPNcricinfo that raising the technicality was the "most convenient way out" for Srinivasan to avoid being questioned about the High Court order on the two-member probe into allegations of breach of IPL code of conduct by Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals, Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra. According to this member, Srinivasan had already faced the heat at the previous working committee meeting on June 2, when former BCCI president IS Bindra openly questioned his role in the formation of the probe panel amongst other things. It was the same day Srinivasan had handed over his seat to Jagmohan Dalmiya temporarily.

"The president wanted to avoid a scene like last time. When he got a sense that at least one of the members was going to question him if he sat in the meeting - whether he presided over the meeting or attended it as a TNCA representative - the technicality came as a huge relief for him," the member said.

He also felt that there "was no other reason" left for the working committee to discuss in the absence of the probe panel report which was only revealed to the five-member governing council. "It was always going to be a single-point agenda for the meeting," another member said. "Had the governing council passed on the probe panel report to the working committee, we would have been able to deliberate on it. But since the governing council under its purview unanimously decided to move Supreme Court, there was no purpose for the working committee to meet."

At the outset of the meeting, the general consensus was that Srinivasan would resume as the president but today's events delayed that. According to insiders privy to the governing council meeting, Srinivasan remains confident that the Supreme Court could overrule the Bombay High Court order. "He is confident about returning soon, well in time to fight the elections during the BCCI AGM [in September]," a board official pointed out.

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo and Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor

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