India news April 15, 2014

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

N Srinivasan has asked the Supreme Court to "reconsider" the interim order passed on March 28, preventing him from discharging functions as BCCI president. In an affidavit filed on Tuesday, Srinivasan said he was "highly aggrieved by the unfair and unsubstantiated allegations" made against him by the legal counsel for Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB), which had originally filed a special leave petition in the court against him for interfering with the two-member committee appointed by the BCCI last year to probe allegations of corruption in the IPL.

In addition, Srinivasan also objected to an intervention application filed by G Sampath Kumar, a suspended Tamil Nadu police officer who wanted a nodal agency - like a special investigation team - to probe the involvement of top BCCI officials and some Indian players in the corruption scandal that erupted last year.

Srinivasan's plea came a day before the two-judge bench of the Supreme Court resumes the hearing in the case based on the findings of the Justice Mudgal Committee probe panel.

According to Srinivasan, during the court hearing on Mach 27, the senior legal counsel for CAB, Harish Salve, had accused him of "corruption and cover-up" with regard to his statement to the Mudgal committee that his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was a "mere cricket enthusiast" and not an owner at the Chennai Super Kings franchise, as alleged. However, the Mudgal panel concluded that Meiyappan was, in fact, a public face of the franchise.

Though he accepted the probe panel's verdict, Srinivasan contested Salve's allegation, saying parts of the Mudgal panel report were being "twisted out of context" to prove him guilty.

"Serious allegations were made against me that I was guilty of committing corrupt acts since, as per applicable rules, a person who gives false information would also be guilty of a corrupt act. Several persons were named as employees of India Cements Limited, of which I am the Vice-Chairman and Managing Director," Srinivasan said in the affidavit. "Several of these persons were alleged to have dual roles in the said company as well as in BCCI to facilitate permeation of my power and influence into BCCI so that I can misuse and abuse my elected position to further the prospects of India Cements Limited, which owns IPL Team Chennai Super Kings, its employees and also protect my son-in-law Mr. Gurunath Meiyappan and IPL Team Chennai Super Kings from being implicated in the betting and match-fixing scandal."

Srinivasan also asked the court to check how Salve had managed to hear conversations related to the investigations even though they were not available in the "public domain". He further criticised Kumar, who had deposed in front of the Mudgal committee. Kumar's statement was one of the sources of information in the sealed envelope - believed to contain names of people involved in sporting fraud - the probe panel had submitted to the court.

Kumar was a superintendent of police with the Crime Branch CID (internal security) in Chennai and was working on a case involving fake passports when he came across information relating to betting. He said he had sought a more detailed investigation of this angle but was taken off the investigating team and posted to the Railway Police in Trichy, a provincial town 300 km south of Chennai.

"A lobby worked hard with people in power and suspended me without assigning any reason," Kumar wrote in his affidavit. "The entire investigating team was transferred to hamper and delay the probe."

According to Srinivasan, Kumar was a "discredited cop facing corruption charges" and hence his "credibility" was in question. "The statements so made by him are not only hearsay in terms of what he allegedly heard from an accused under interrogation, but wholly uncorroborated," Srinivasan said. "Further, no credibility can ever be attached to what he said to the Probe Committee since he is a suspended public servant facing serious charges of corruption and will say anything to divert attention from his acts of corruption. From news reports, I can gather that Mr. G Sampath Kumar had received huge amounts as bribe from various bookies and was caught by superiors."

Srinivasan said he was filing an interim application asking the Tamil Nadu Crime Branch CID to submit a report to the court stating the exact reasons behind Kumar's transfer and suspension. In the interim, he requested the court to allow him to assume his role as the BCCI president.

"As stated earlier, I had nothing to do with any investigation done by the said person, or any other agency for that matter," he said. "Hence, I wish to assume office as President, BCCI as there is no reason at all why I should step aside, pending any investigation into any crime being investigated by CB-CID or other agency."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article