India news March 27, 2014

Supreme Court proposes big changes

ESPNcricinfo staff

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Bal: It all boils down to conflict of interest

The Supreme Court has proposed sweeping changes to the BCCI, including replacing N Srinivasan as the board's chief with Sunil Gavaskar or a "seasoned or respected cricketer" and suspending Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals from the IPL. The suggestions were made to the BCCI counsel during hearing of the case on Thursday; the board has been asked to reply to the proposals on Friday, after which the court will issue an interim order.

The court also proposed that employees of India Cements, of which Srinivasan is managing director and which owns Super Kings, should be kept out of the BCCI set-up.

At its last hearing, on March 25, the court had effectively given Srinivasan an ultimatum to step down by today or risk being removed by it. At Thursday's hearing it did not pass any explicit order to this effect but came up with the sweeping set of proposals.

At the start of the hearing, which went on for more than two hours, BCCI counsel CA Sundaram said it would implement the recommendations of the Mudgal Committee and submitted a closed envelope containing the board's response to the Supreme Court's observations of Tuesday. The judges read the proposals, set them aside and asked for the arguments to be presented to them.

Counsel for Cricket Association of Bihar - whose petition in 2013 had led to this hearing - Harish Salve's arguments took up most of the session, with him recommending termination of the Super Kings and Royals franchises. One line of Salve's argument dwelt on India captain MS Dhoni and his response to the Mudgal committee about the role of Gurunath Meiyappan, Srinivasan's son-in-law, in Super Kings. The Mudgal committee's report states: "Mr MS Dhoni, Mr N Srinivasan and officials of India Cements took the stand that Mr Meiyappan had nothing to do with the cricketing affairs of Chennai Super Kings and was a mere cricket enthusiast supporting Super Kings."

Salve said that in denying any knowledge of Gurunath's role in Super Kings, "the Indian cricket captain has been indulging in corrupt conduct". He also named the India Cements employees who held positions in the BCCI. The judges were surprised to learn that Dhoni also happened to be a vice-president of India Cements and were presented with documentary proof of Dhoni's appointment.

At one point during the argument, Justice Patnaik asked Salve - whose father NKP Salve was a BCCI president in the 1980s - for his opinion on whether the court had legal standing "restructuring" an autonomous body like the BCCI. It is believed that Salve said he would respond in writing.

According to a BCCI insider the BCCI's line, in its brief arguments today, was that Srinivasan would not "voluntarily step aside" but would relieve himself of duties as the board president. The BCCI counsel also told the court that they were open to an independent, time-bound investigation during which Srinivasan would not discharge functions as a president.

Reacting to the news of his name being mentioned as a replacement for Srinivasan, Gavaskar said: "When the highest court of the land tells you to do something, you have to do it."

Gavaskar pointed out that he was contracted to BCCI TV as a commentator but said that he would step in if the court, even after that, asked him to do so. "As an opening batsman you have to be mentally and physically ready for any challenge," he said.

The dramatic events of the past two days forced the BCCI to push back its IPL preparations. A media conference scheduled in Abu Dhabi on Thursday afternoon for the IPL launch was postponed as soon as the court proposals became public.

The case dates back to June 2013 when the Cricket Association of Bihar secretary Aditya Verma raised charges of conflict of interest in the formation of BCCI's two-member inquiry panel into the IPL corruption issue. A Bombay High Court ruling later termed the probe panel "illegal". The BCCI and the CAB filed petitions in the Supreme Court against this order, with the CAB contending that the Bombay High Court could have suggested a fresh mechanism to look into the corruption allegations.

The Supreme Court then appointed a three-member committee, headed by former High Court judge Mukul Mudgal and comprising additional solicitor general L Nageswara Rao and Assam Cricket Association member Nilay Dutta, in October 2013, to conduct an independent inquiry into the allegations of corruption against Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, India Cements, and Rajasthan Royals team owner Jaipur IPL Cricket Private Ltd, as well as with the larger mandate of allegations around betting and spot-fixing in IPL matches and the involvement of players. The committee had submitted its findings to the court on February 10.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sylvan on March 30, 2014, 22:11 GMT

    Being in the USA for almost a quarter of a century, one thing that I have noticed so far on these issues; public as well as supreme court don't give preference to the individual's right and democratic process. Asking Srinivasan to step down who was duly elected and who was not the target of the investigation, and Gurumuthy not being an appointed official (assumed positions have been there at many businesses and families), I don't think that supreme court's handling this issue is of at highest caliber. I don't think that Gavaskar or Dada are qualified to run an organization of this size; hitting a ball or a leading a team does not qualify both of them to lead BCCI. One has to have business background. Can you imagine MBA in Sports Management is one of the most sought after here?

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2014, 6:14 GMT

    i am happy to hear this judgement of supreme court.a fair game back in fair hands a loads of thanks and good luck to the people behind this. Good days are expected to walk in the coming days.i wish our little master will open the gate ways of fair cricket back in Indian cricket.Good luck to him and god bless him to make the possible of the impossible.

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2014, 5:36 GMT

    Dada is the guy who brought fighting spirit and aggression in indian team and recent captain is getting benefit of it Dada is the right guy for bcci president

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2014, 4:39 GMT

    with respect to SC i would like to say that franchise of csk should change. Players have nothing to do with it so csk should play because non of the player did spot fixing. Mistakes done by franchise should not affect players and IPL

  • V V S TULASIRAM on March 28, 2014, 3:44 GMT

    This is the time to think and look basics.

  • Cricket on March 28, 2014, 3:00 GMT

    The decision to change the president is good. The one to disband two teams however, is not. First of all the teams have already bought players and it would be extremely unfair on them to miss out on the IPL through no fault of their own. Secondly, the whole scandal was because of a select few individuals as far as we know, and since they are no longer a part of these teams, RR and CSK should get a clean slate. Lastly, this would result in heavy losses for the league and could end up being terminated. Two major teams out means lesser matches and disappointed fans, leading to a lesser viewership.

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2014, 2:56 GMT

    Salute to Supreme Court. It's tragic and unfortunate state of India, where so called corruption critising politicians such as Mr. Arun Jaitely (Lieutenant of Mr. Narendra Modi. -B.J.P) and Mr. Rajeev Shukla of Congress did not utter a single word against Mr Shrininivas let alone opposing him due to undue benefit they are getting from BCCI.

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2014, 2:28 GMT

    While dealing with conflict of interest, as per Mr.Gavaskar, he should be allowed to continue with his assignments as well as serve as chairman of BCCI. Would it not amount to conflict of interest in case he is involved in any manner in a match played Indian players.

  • Raghavender on March 28, 2014, 1:35 GMT

    DADA should be the next BCCI chief so that this kind of things won't repeat as he has shown when he was leading the Indian cricket team.... and it will be good for cricket too...

  • Jaya on March 28, 2014, 1:34 GMT

    I am sure BCCI will defend CSK and RR,at end of day everything is Business. Pepsi is closely watching this issue,if supreme court ban CSK an RR,pepsi will withdraw the sponsorship.

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