Qaiser Mohammad Ali
Now, the BCCI, and not the Supreme Court, will decide if beleaguered former Board president N. Srinivasan can attend meetings, including the delayed AGM, whenever it is convened.
On Monday, taking up a BCCI application that sought a clarification if Srinivasan was eligible to attend Board meetings due to him being in a conflict-of-interest zone, the court said that the BCCI itself can decide the issue as the apex had already dealt with the conflict-of-interest issue its January judgement.
This comes amidst indications that efforts were being made for rapprochement between the warring factions within the world’s wealthiest cricket organisation.
In a related development, also on Monday, Srinivasan withdrew a case of perjury against BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur, after the latter had furnished “false and misleading” information to establish that the former had forcefully tried to attend a working committee meeting on August 28.
The ruling group, led by then BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya (now no more), had preferred to adjourn the August working committee meeting and seek Supreme Court’s advice on Srinivasan, and hence this application before the apex court. Srinivasan had then insisted on representing his home state body, the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association, as its president at the meeting in Kolkata.
After Supreme Court’s observation on Monday, it will now be up to the top brass of the BCCI, particularly president Shashank Manohar, who was elected only on Sunday, and Thakur, to decide if Srinivasan can attend the upcoming Board meetings.
The main reason of Srinivasan’s conflict-of-interest is that his company, India Cements, bought an IPL franchise in 2008 (later named as the Chennai Super Kings) while he was still a BCCI office-bearer. By virtue of him being continuously a BCCI office-bearer since 2005-06 (starting as treasurer), he attended all the IPL governing council meetings and was aware of all the decisions, including confidential ones, being taken by the Board.
“On the day we pronounced the judgment, he (Srinivasan) was in conflict of interest. You [BCCI] will have to take a view on whatever happened after that,” said a bench of Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla.
The same bench had in its judgement on January 22 declared that Srinivasan was indeed in a conflict-of-interest zone.
“You are free to stick to that (view) and you stick to that. We are not saying you are wrong. We are also not saying you are right,” the bench said.
The court, however, said that if 70-year-old Srinivasan was aggrieved by the any of the Board’s views, he could raise it before an appropriate court.
While stating that most of the points raised by the BCCI was done after the judgement was delivered, the Supreme Court on Monday said: “Do you want an advance approval of your view [that Srinivasan was still in a conflict of interest area]. We are not concerned with it.”
In its judgment, the Supreme Court had held that “no one who has any commercial interest in the BCCI events (including Srinivasan) shall be eligible for contesting the elections for any post whatsoever”.
This prevented Srinivasan from contesting the election for the BCCI president’s post for a third year. He was already holding the president’s post since September 2011, was keen for the “continuity” in the BCCI chair, especially as is now also chairman of the ICC.
Now, there is a real danger for Srinivasan to be removed as the ICC chairman, unless a behind-the-scene compromise has been made between him and the present BCCI dispensation. The BCCI has the authority to remove him from the ICC post as it is up to the chairman’s home board to nominate anyone it likes.
Only about nine months are left in Srinivasan’s two-year tenure at the ICC.
Late on Monday evening, the BCCI issued a clarification after some reports said that the BCCI had “withdrawn” its application against Srinivasan, or that the court had “dismissed” it.
“It is incorrect that BCCI ‘withdrew’ its application or that the same was ‘dismissed’ without recording detailed observations,” said the statement.
The BCCI will now convene a working committee meeting to decide the date of the AGM besides conducting other business.