India news September 10, 2013

BCCI-CAB case set for next hearing

The Supreme Court hearing in the BCCI v Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) case resumes on Wednesday with the board's lawyers expected to argue its case instead of filing a reply to the Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed by CAB. The BCCI's decision is aimed at speeding up the hearing on the CAB appeal, which challenged the Bombay High Court order on July 30 because it did not appoint a new committee to probe the alleged corruption in the IPL.

On August 28, CAB had filed an appeal against the High Court order that had originally found the constitution of the BCCI's two-man probe panel - which cleared Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra, officials of the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals franchises, of corruption - to be illegal. In its plea, CAB senior counsel Harish Salve argued the High Court should have formed a fresh panel, because the allegations of betting and spot fixing in the IPL were grave and a private body like the BCCI should not be empowered to make its own findings.

Normal procedure demands that one files a reply through an affidavit against the petitioner's appeal before the court hears the case. However, the BCCI decided to enter the final arguments in the hearing, to avoid delaying the judgement. "The intention is to expedite the case. If the BCCI files a reply then the CAB will file a rejoinder," a board source said. "Then the court after the completion of all pleadings will decide another date."

The main reason behind the BCCI trying to expedite the process is to clear its president N Srinivasan's name of all accusations, including his involvement in the appointment of the inquiry committee. The High Court had pointed out that there was a "degree of probability" in Srinivasan have had a role in the formation of the panel.

"The most that can be said in favour of the petitioner (CAB) at this stage … is that it has made out a prima-facie case that respondent No. 2 (Srinivasan) was involved in the formation of the commission," Justices SJ Vajifdar and MS Sonak had said in their order. "The least that must be said in favour of the petitioner is that the respondents have not established that respondent No. 2 had no role to play in the formation of the commission."

However, it is understood that neither the court order nor the ongoing appeal in the Supreme Court will hinder Srinivisan from attending any BCCI meetings, including chairing the annual general meeting on September 29.

In order to clear his name, the BCCI and Srinivasan have to refute the observations made by the High Court. They will have to prove that the probe commission was constituted as per IPL operational rules, as they noted in their appeal admitted by the Supreme Court on August 7. The board also has to prove that Srinivasan played no role in the appointment of the probe panel.

In its SLP, the CAB had said the issue should have been supervised by some court of law and not a private body, like the BCCI. The CAB's suggestion was that the court should have constituted the probe panel, and if the BCCI wanted to appoint its own panel then it should allow the court to study the panel's findings.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo