India news April 22, 2014

'A blow to BCCI, could hurt autonomous status'

Even as most of the BCCI officials have stayed either unavailable or guarded, former treasurer Ajay Shirke has said that the BCCI has been dealt a big blow by the Supreme Court. The apex court preferred the Justice Mukul Mudgal panel to the BCCI-recommended three-member panel for further investigations into the IPL corruption scandal. Shirke, who resigned in May 2013 in protest against the manner in which the IPL corruption scandal was being handled by the BCCI president N Srinivasan, said the decision could even take BCCI closer to losing its autonomy.

"The fact that the court has not accepted the panel should be a matter of grave concern for the members who formed that panel," Shirke said. "It also shows that the board seems to be currently content on working with numbers, rather than good counsel, as there were two ex-presidents in that meeting who virtually predicted what will happen with the selected panel. It is really a time for serious introspection for the members, and if the board does not get its act right, I think the day might not be too far when the BCCI may well lose its autonomy."

Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, two former BCCI presidents who had voiced concerns during the working committee meeting, decided to remain non-committal while reacting to the day's development. "I will not comment on an observation," Manohar said. "Unless and until a judicial order is passed and I go through that, I would not like to comment." Manohar also said that his position and opinion on the BCCI's functioning remained unchanged, and he did not have anything new to add to that. After his objections to the BCCI's proposed panel were overruled, Manohar had said the board's reputation was at its worst in 80 years of its existence.

Dalmiya said he would be happy to lay low at the moment. "Unless something concrete [is announced], it is very difficult to comment on this important issue," Dlamiya said. "If you make half-hearted comments, you are exposing yourself."

Chitrak Mitra, one of the BCCI vice-presidents, said that the onus was now on Shivlal Yadav, the interim president, and Sanjay Patel, the BCCI secretary, to respond the various questions. "Those who proposed the names, you should ask them," Mitra said. "The interim president and BCCI secretary took the decision and they are in a better position."

Patel did not respond to calls, and Yadav understandably didn't want to discuss this: he lost his father earlier on Tuesday.

A senior board functionary on condition of anonymity said it "would be incorrect and unfair" to presume the three-member panel comprising former CBI director RK Raghavan, retired high court judge Jai Narayan Patel and former India captain Ravi Shastri had been rejected till the court passed an order.

Another vice-president, Sneh Bansal, felt there was no point in countering what the Supreme Court said. "Once the apex court has made a point, we should abide by it," Bansal said. "I hope we will have more clarity in the days to come."

Lalit Modi, a former BCCI vice-president and IPL chairman who is now banned from all BCCI affairs, welcomed the Supreme Court's move to ask the Mudgal panel to further carry out the probe. "This is what Shashank Manohar recommended [during Sunday's meeting]," Modi said. "Justice Mudgal to be appointed in the first place. That is the right thing. He is completely unbiased, and he does what is required to be done."

According to Modi it was now time for the court to prohibit Srinivasan from representing India at the ICC. "The Court has started to correct the course," Modi said. "The court has very clearly said he has to step aside. And only by virtue of being in the BCCI can he be at the ICC." Modi said.

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