Former BCCI president Shashank Manohar has blamed his successor N Srinivasan for "tarnishing" the image of the board, in the wake of the Supreme Court of India revealing that he is one of the persons mentioned in the Mudgal committee's final report on the IPL 2013 spot-fixing case. In a bluntly worded statement, Manohar said the BCCI could neither afford, nor had the authority, to further postpone its AGM from November 20 - that, he said, would only "destroy" the image of both the board and the game.
"Once the date of the AGM was fixed by the Working Committee, the same could not and cannot be altered by any Office Bearer of the Board as they do not have authority to do so," Manohar said in his statement.
According to Manohar the BCCI constitution dictates that the AGM cannot be held beyond September 30. However it was decided to postpone it to November 20 at the working committee meeting on October 26, which Srinivasan, despite being asked by the Supreme Court earlier this year to step aside as the board's president, attended.
"Even under the Board Constitution, though it is mandatory to hold the AGM on or before 30th September, the Working Committee meeting which was attended by Mr Srinivasan fixed the date of the AGM as 20th of November, probably hoping that the names of Mr N Srinivasan and Meiyappan would be cleared," Manohar said. "However it appears that during today's hearing, as soon as the names of Srinivasan and Meiyappan were disclosed, the Counsel for the Board made a request for the postponement of the AGM and elections scheduled to be held on 20th November."
It emerged that the BCCI's top brass, including Srinivasan, was involved in a teleconference soon after Friday's court hearing, where it was revealed that Srinivasan as well as IPL COO Sundar Raman, Chennai Super Kings official and Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, and Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra were named by the court in connection with the Mudgal report.
BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel declined to comment, saying he would not speak till he had "read the court order".
It is not yet entirely clear whether the BCCI has decided to only postpone the elections which are part of the AGM, or the AGM as a whole. The AGM usually lists several matters, including confirmation of minutes of the previous general meetings, adoption of the secretary's review report, adoption of treasurer's report and the audited accounts, adoption of the annual budget, appointment of auditors, election of working committee, standing committees and other sub-committees, consideration of reports and recommendations of various committees, and appointing India's representative to the ICC, apart from the election of office-bearers and vice-presidents.
It is understood that, according to the rulebook, the agenda for the AGM has already been circulated 21 days in advance among member associations. But the members were uncertain about what the board's top-level management's future course of action would be.
Calling Srinivasan a "back-seat driver", Manohar said the current BCCI regime was "flouting" the board's rules. He provided the example the BCCI breaking away from the long-held practices of allotting international matches to venues on a rotational basis.
"It is thus evident that the instructions given to the Board Counsel are only with an intent to suit Mr Srinivasan as that would ensure that he still remains a back seat driver," Manohar said. "The moot question that needs to be answered is - who gave the Board Counsel instructions to plead for postponement of the AGM."
Manohar also asked if the investigations into the IPL corruption case were to carry on for an extended period, would it be feasible for the BCCI continue to be run by the same administration. "The second question that comes to mind is - if the investigation/hearing pulls on for several years then will the Board keep functioning under the same set up?"
Manohar urged the BCCI member associations to take a stance. "The image of the Board is tarnished by the actions and the attitude of Mr Srinivasan. The gentlemen's game, as the game of cricket has long been known, and the reputation of the Board is at its lowest due to the egoistic and autocratic behaviour of one individual. The Board and the game of Cricket is bigger than any individual and it is the responsibility and duty of every individual connected with the game to preserve the dignity and integrity of the Game and the Board, and through this press note, I appeal to all members of the Board to rise to the occasion and prevent the Board and the Game from being further destroyed."