Kochi to appeal against court's rejection
Kochi Tuskers Kerala have appealed against the Bombay High Court's decision to reject their case to restrain the BCCI from cashing its bank guarantee of 156 crore rupees. The franchise's case was denied by a single bench of Justice SF Vajifdar on Wednesday and a new hearing before a division bench of the court has been set for Thursday morning, a Kochi official told ESPNcricinfo.
"There is a hearing at 11 am tomorrow before a division bench," Mukesh Patel, managing director, Parinee Developers Pvt Ltd, and one of the owners of the team, said. Kochi is also seeking a stay on the board's decision to terminate the franchise and wants the court to refer the dispute to an arbitrator under the arbitration clause in their franchise agreement.
Kochi is the third franchise to be expelled from the league over the last 12 months by the BCCI. Last year Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, the two franchises that were terminated in October 2010, not only succeeded in having their cases referred to an arbitrator, but the court also returned them to the league and allowed them to compete in the IPL 2011.
The BCCI had axed Kochi from the IPL for breaching its terms of agreement, the new board president N Srinivasan said, after the annual general meeting in Mumbai on September 19. The trigger for the decision was the franchise's inability to furnish a new bank guarantee for 2011. It is understood that the deadline for Kochi to submit the bank guarantee was March 26, 2011. Therefore the BCCI felt it had every right to terminate the contract once the franchise had failed to produce it.
Patel, however, denied that the franchise owed the board any money. "The BCCI notice is wrong, prima facie," he said. "We have never defaulted. The BCCI will be paying us 12 to 15 crore rupees ($2.5 million to $3.13 million) next month as a part of our central revenue."
The franchise's dispute centres on the BCCI's decision to reduce the number of IPL games from 94 to 74. "The number of games in Tender Document was 94; they then reduced it to 74 but did not reduce the franchise fees."
Srinivasan, however, had said that the decision to remove Kochi from the league was final and termed their alleged transgression an "irremediable breach".
Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo