India cricket April 19, 2014

Srinivasan to miss BCCI working committee meet

N Srinivasan will not attend BCCI's emergent working committee meeting on Sunday, despite being eligible to attend as president of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association. Kasi Viswanathan will represent the state association as the board meets to discuss its response to a Supreme Court order asking for suggestions on how a free and fair probe can be conducted into allegations of corruption in the IPL.

In its last court order on April 16, the Supreme Court had asked the BCCI to come back to the next hearing, on April 22, with constructive corrective measures on how the probe could be held. Although the BCCI has not stated an agenda to its members, the focus of the meeting will be the board's response to this directive. Some members are in favour of an independent probe, and there is likely to be a discussion on the issue.

The measures could involve a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe or selecting its own other independent investigators, but the court has stipulated that the probe has to be conducted by a credible team. If the BCCI is given the power to investigate the matter, it will have to be done without prejudice and the mandatory condition that "Srinivasan cannot come back".

The Supreme Court had stated in its order last month that none of the employees of India Cements Limited or its associate companies - except cricket players or commentators - could perform duties assigned to them by the BCCI. Questions were hence raised whether Srinivasan, who stepped aside as BCCI president, could violate the court order as vice-chairman and managing director of India Cements.

However, according to BCCI insiders and top legal experts, as an owner and shareholder of the company, Srinivasan does not qualify as an employee and can thus attend the meeting. While the interim order noted that Srinivasan has offered to not discharge any functions as BCCI president, a TNCA insider revealed this did not bar him from working at the ICC or representing the state association at board meetings.

A popular suggestion at Sunday's meeting could be to appoint a panel comprising outsiders, but the BCCI will need to keep in mind a judgement from the Bombay High Court in July 2013, when the court termed the board-appointed, two-member independent probe panel "illegal".

The court observed that IPL's operational rules stated that any inquiry panel formed by the board must include "at least one" member of the IPL code of behaviour committee. At that time, the code of behaviour committee included Sanjay Jagdale, Ajay Shirke, Rajiv Shukla, Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shastri, none of whom were a part of the probe panel.

As a result, while a few members may press for a completely independent probe, others may bring up the High Court judgement, which requires an IPL official to be part of the probe. Earlier senior BCCI officials had met in Chennai on March 15 to finalise the operational rules for IPL 2014.

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

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