The IPL mess December 2, 2010

Rajasthan, Punjab cases intensify

ESPNcricinfo staff

The cases against the expulsion of the two IPL franchises, Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, have intensified further, leading to more uncertainty over the build up to its fourth season. The BCCI, as it had intended earlier, moved the Bombay High Court against the stay given to Rajasthan by arbitrator Justice Srikrishna, which has effectively allowed it to continue as a franchise for the next six weeks. The date for the court's hearing over the BCCI's appeal against the stay will be announced on Friday.

The case of the King's XI has, however, been further complicated with the franchise alleging that the BCCI had "deliberately" delayed its object to Srikrishna's role in the proceedings. The Kings XI hearings were due to begin on Thursday, but the decision by the arbitrator to stand down has led to further postponements in the case.

In the Bombay high court, Punjab's lawyer Darius Khambata said the BCCI had deliberately raised an objection to Srikrishna, their own candidate of choice as arbitrator, just before the December 6 deadline for franchises to retain their star players.

Srikrishna had opted out after disclosing he had represented the Wadia Group, co-owners of the Punjab franchise in the past. Khambata however, claimed that disclosure was made on November 23, well before the BCCI expressed a "reservation" that ultimately led to Srikrishna's withdrawal.

"BCCI kept silent deliberately... They strung us along for one week as the deadline for negotiating with 'marquee players' is to expire on December 6," the PTI news agency quoted Khambata as saying.

Srikrishna's replacement as arbitrator is yet to be named, though the judge adjudicating the Punjab case, Justice SJ Vazifdar, said Srikrishna "ought not to have recused."

Khambata has asked the BCCI to postpone the December 6 deadline, following which the players are free to sign up with other franchises. Instead, the BCCI's legal representative CA Sundaram said the board would consider extending the December 10 deadline meant for franchises to retain the other, remaining players. Each team is entitled retain four before the auction in January.