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COA allegations 'unsubstantiated, hypothetical' - Srinivasan

N Srinivasan speaks to the media after being confirmed as ICC chairman AFP

In a stinging offensive against the committee of administrators (CoA), former BCCI president N Srinivasan has accused the panel of attempting to present "incomplete facts and circumstances" and projecting a picture of him that would "prejudice" him in the eyes of the Supreme Court.

Srinivasan was responding to the CoA allegation (made in its status report) that he along with other disqualified administrators had "hijacked" the June 26 Special General Meeting (SGM) of the BCCI where the members - state associations - were supposed to adopt a new constitution as per the Lodha Committee recommendations.

The CoA had said that Srinivasan and other disqualified administrators such as Niranjan Shah, who was attending the June SGM as a representative of the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA), had prevailed upon the other BCCI members, who were otherwise "willing" to support the reform process.

According to Srinivasan the CoA had contradicted itself because its status report states that no "consensus" could be arrived at in its two meetings with the state associations, first on May 5 and then on June 25. "In this background the aforementioned allegation made against the answering respondent [Srinivasan] of hijacking the proceedings and prevailing upon the other attendees, who were otherwise willing to facilitate the reform process, is not only false but is a mala fide attempt to mislead this Hon'ble Court and prejudice this Hon'ble Court against the answering respondent," Srinivasan noted in his affidavit which the court heard on Monday.

Srinivasan pointed out that as many as 19 state associations had filed petitions challenging the July 18 court order from last year which he said had "partially" approved the recommendations. Srinivasan challenged the CoA's assertion that it had arrived at a "mutual consensus" with a "majority" of the state associations on implementing the recommendations when many had challenged the same in the court. "The entire basis of the allegations made by the CoA is unsubstantiated, hypothetical and contrary to the facts on record."

Srinivasan accepted that he stood disqualified as an office bearer, but argued that he was not ineligible to attend the BCCI meetings as a representative of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA). Srinivasan's justification for making such a statement, he said, was that neither the Lodha Committee nor the July 18 court order from last year had barred disqualified office bearers from attending BCCI meetings or from being part of any committee of the BCCI.

"The true intent and purport of the orders of this Hon'ble Court was to change the degree of control which the off(i)ce bearers of the BCCI and the State Associations wielded, as pointed out by the Justice Lodha committee, and to prescribe certain disqualifications to stand for such elected office. There was no reference in the [Lodha] Committee report nor in any of the orders of this Hon'ble Court in regard to the membership or participation of individuals in cricketing affairs, in representative capacities. Equally, there was no discussion in any part of the committee report nor any of the orders of this Hon'ble Court on the right of an individual to join and participate in the affairs of a local club or a District Association.

"Indeed, it was never the intention of this Hon'ble Court to define the parameters of eligibility for a citizen to pursue his interest in sport of cricket by being a member of any sports body or managing committee of any sports body. It is evident that the CoA seeks to expand the orders of this Hon'ble Court which is not permissible in law."

According to Shah, who was also pulled up by the CoA, he has not committed any violation by attending the BCCI meeting as an SCA representative. In his affidavit, Shah told the court that he was not playing the role of an "obstructionist" by attending BCCI meetings. He disagreed completely with being cast as a "disruptive and subversive" element as alleged by the CoA in its status report. "This approach of the CoA is contrary to democracy and meritocracy," Shah said in his affidavit.