India news September 27, 2013

Srinivasan can contest election, with riders

ESPNcricinfo staff

The Indian Supreme Court has allowed N Srinivasan to contest the BCCI elections on Sunday but has said that if he wins he cannot take charge as president as long as it is hearing the case before it related to him and the board. The ruling came on a petition filed by the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) seeking to restrain Srinivasan from running for re-election pending the verdict on a petition filed by the CAB in July.

Srinivasan reacted by asserting that he would stand for re-election as the court had not stopped him from either attending the AGM or contesting the election.

The court is expected to hear the matter again on Monday, a day after the board meeting.

During the hearing, a bench comprising Justices A K Patnaik and J S Kehar 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?"

Srinivasan had in June handed over charge of the daily running of the board to Jagmohan Dalmiya but was looking at Sunday's election as a way of legitimising his presidency. It is not immediately clear whether he will contest the election or whether this will give momentum to those in the BCCI opposing him.

"Now it's up to the Board members to decide whether they can allow Srinivasan to contest the election as he has no power to discharge the president's functions," Aditya Verma, the CAB's secretary, told the Telegraph. "I think the order is kind of a victory for us. The honourable court has definitely found that Srinivasan is at fault in certain aspects. Otherwise, why should the court restrain him from taking charge?"

The earlier petition filed by the CAB had challenged the Bombay High Court's order on the BCCI's inquiry committee that investigated corruption in the IPL, on the grounds that it had failed to appoint a fresh panel despite finding the original one to be constituted illegally. The Supreme Court was due to hear final arguments in the case on September 12, but ran out of time on that day.

The Bombay High Court order, too, came on a petition filed by the CAB questioning the constitution of the two-man inquiry committee set up by the BCCI to probe corruption allegations against the owners of Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings. Verma had accused Srinivasan of utilising his position as the BCCI president to influence the setting up of the probe panel, which was formed to investigate his company India Cements - the owner of Super Kings - and his son-in-law and Super Kings official Gurunath Meiyappan, who was arrested and subsequently charged with illegal betting. The High Court concluded that there was "a degree of probability" of Srinivasan playing a role in setting up the inquiry panel.

Following the charges against Gurunath, Srinivasan had stepped aside from the day-to-day administration of the BCCI in early June, temporarily handing over the reins to Jagmohan Dalmiya pending Gurunath's investigation. Since then, he has been re-elected as the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association's chief and made it clear that he wishes to return to the top post in the BCCI for another term. The election is set to be held at the board's annual general meeting in Chennai on Sunday and, until now, Srinivasan had faced no public opposition from within the BCCI making it very likely that he would have resumed his role as BCCI president but for the court order.