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February 11, 2014
Despite the IPL probe committee finding Gurunath Meiyappan, the son-in-law of BCCI president N Srinivasan, to have indulged in corrupt practices in his proven capacity as a team official of Chennai Super Kings, the feeling within the board is that Srinivasan is unlikely to be affected, unless the Supreme Court steps in.
Usually, a faction within the BCCI uses such an opportunity to pounce on the people in power. However, with Srinivasan being the undisputed leader, many members believe he will see off this turbulent period as well. "Had there been some sort of a pressure group within the Board, it could have been a different tale," an official who did not want to take sides told ESPNcricinfo. "But with most units happily supporting him, the issue won't have any bearing on the Board's affairs, at least till the next hearing."
While most BCCI members termed the probe committee report, which was submitted to the Supreme Court on February 10, "based on assumptions," some admitted that it could affect the future of the Chennai Super Kings franchise and the IPL. "We cannot undermine the fact that it's a court-appointed committee headed by a reputed former judge that has submitted its findings," a seasoned BCCI member said. "If the court admits the report, then it could lead to an upheaval within the BCCI."
The Supreme Court will hear the corruption case next on March 7 and its ruling on the Mudgal report will be important for the Chennai Super Kings because of a clause in the IPL franchise agreements. Clause 11.3 (c) says the agreement can be terminated if, "the Franchise, any Franchise Group Company and/or any owner acts in any way which has a material adverseeffect upon the reputation or standing of the League, BCCI-IPL, BCCI, the Franchise, the team (or any other team in the League) and/or the game of cricket." The term "material adverse effect," however, isn't defined in the agreement.
Some BCCI members are of the opinion that until Gurunath's involvement in betting is established, Chennai Super Kings cannot be terminated. "The clause will be applicable only if Meiyappan is found guilty of betting. And as the report itself says, Meiyappan's so-called involvement is based on the assumption that the voice samples sent to the forensic lab are his. In this case, it would be difficult to apply the clause and oust the franchise," an administrator said, referring to the additional comments made in the report by committee member Nilay Dutta.
When asked whether Gurunath's arrest by Mumbai police and the probe committee's finding that he was involved in illegal better had not brought the IPL into disrepute, BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla said it was a matter for the court. "We should wait for the Supreme Court verdict. The panel has given its report to the apex court," he said. "Let the court decide."
Lalit Modi, the former IPL chairman and a vocal critic of Srinivasan, however, called for the termination of Chennai Super Kings. "Given these developments, I would like to see the CSK team annulled from all future IPL activity including the forthcoming auctions and the 2014 season as per rules," Modi, said in a statement. "Additionally I think the time is also ripe to make some deep, incisive and sweeping changes to ensure that there is no systemic failure in the future.
"First and foremost I think it is time to disband the IPL Governing Council to ensure that any and all elements of bias are removed. It is time for a new Supervising Board with all the stakeholders of the IPL on it to take charge, run and govern the league. The new Supervising Board with all stakeholders on board should be responsible for conducting and running the tournament albeit at an arm's length. Next and more importantly the immediate need of the hour is to re-auction a new Chennai team. Even more important is to redo the player auction without any player retention.."
Despite Modi having held several posts in the BCCI and fighting a court battle to return as Rajasthan Cricket Association president, not many board members pay heed to his remarks. "Whatever he says is borne out of a personal fight with Srinivasan, so we shouldn't pay too much attention to it," a BCCI official said.
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