India news August 28, 2015

BCCI meeting adjourned due to Srinivasan's presence

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Bal: Srinivasan attendance issue should have been addressed beforehand

The BCCI's working committee meeting was adjourned sine die minutes after it started on Friday evening over the presence of former president N Srinivasan, who was there in his capacity as Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) head. A board statement said it would seek the Supreme Court's opinion on whether he could attend its meetings as the TNCA representative, and it is believed that it will move the court on Saturday.

Once the Supreme Court gives its directive, the BCCI will reconvene the working committee at the earliest to get all the sub-committee reports ratified before the AGM, likely to be held in Kolkata on September 27.

According to a BCCI insider Srinivasan, despite being requested to stay away from the meeting due to his complicated legal status, decided to attend at his "own risk". The BCCI hierarchy consulted legal advisor Ushanath Banerjee, who was not sure of the legal implications of Srinivasan's presence given the conflict of interest issues and the restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court. Srinivasan had in the past been forced to apologise to the Supreme Court for attending BCCI meetings after being told to stay away.

The matter was not taken up at the meeting; instead the announcement of adjournment was made by board president Jagmohan Dalmiya soon after it started.

Srinivasan arrived at a five-star hotel in Kolkata, venue for the meeting, early on Friday. Soon after lunch, a message was passed on by the BCCI hierarchy that he should not be attending the meeting considering the Supreme Court is yet to suggest administrative reforms to the BCCI. Srinivasan, who was meeting his group members then, clarified he was well within his rights to represent TNCA.

It was soon followed by a meeting between himself, IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla, Banerjee and treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry. It is understood that Srinivasan explained to others that his position as managing director of India Cements Ltd was not going to be a conflict of interest since India Cements is actually a respondent along with the BCCI in the Chennai Super Kings Cricket Ltd's writ petition against the suspension. He was then told by the BCCI hierarchy that he should attend the meeting "at your own risk" to which he agreed.

Srinivasan is also understood to have told the members that he was not going to attend the meeting to "hatch eggs" but in order to contribute to the BCCI administration in whatever way he could. It was eventually agreed that Srinivasan would recuse himself from IPL-related discussion to avoid any more legal tangle.

Confusion had prevailed on Thursday night during the IPL governing council meeting as well. PS Raman, a Chennai-based lawyer who is considered to be close to Super Kings, was present in the meeting and tried to defend the Super Kings' low valuation of Rs five lakh at the time of transfer of shares from India Cements to a trust.

The members then objected to his presence and questioned who had invited Raman to the meeting. To which, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur and IPL chairman Shukla tried to put the blame on each other. Raman was then asked to leave the room.

On Friday, Raman told ESPNcricinfo: "The IPL governing council had called me. They wanted some clarifications on the India Cements disinvestment. We had given them the opinion of former Chief Justice of India, confirming that there was no undervaluation. It's the correct way to do it because it's from holding company to a subsidiary, and thereafter directly to shareholders. So it didn't amount to a change in control. I don't know [if they were satisfied with the explanation]."

Asked if he was representing Super Kings, Raman said: "They asked me both as a person associated with India Cements and CSK apart from being a lawyer. Also, I had debated this issue at the last Working Committee meeting of the BCCI. So, you could take it either way."

With inputs from Arun Venugopal

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo