Bar Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals from IPL: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court Wednesday proposed to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that its defiant president Narayanaswami Srinivasan step down on while Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals be kept out of the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) that starts April 16.
An apex court bench of Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla suggested that in the intervening period, the affairs of the BCCI maybe be looked after by former India captain Sunil Gavaskar or any other player of his eminence.
The court also suggested that any India Cements staffer currently involved with the IPL should be kept away as well. The company, which owns Super Kings, is headed Srinivasan and has India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni as its vice president.
The court was told that excluding the Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals would disturb the format of IPL matches and also that Srinivasan's counsel said he should be heard before any order is passed.
The court, in response, said that it will hear him out but would still pass an interim order Friday. The court then adjourned the hearing, which lasted for two-and-a-half hours.
At the outset, BCCI senior counsel C.A. Sundaram handed over a proposal to the court saying that Srinivasan would voluntarily step down as as president of the national cricketing body till a fair probe is done.
The BCCI also proposed that someone else would take over as the interim president and suggested a time-bound probe into the allegations involving, besides others, Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan.
Justice Patnaik said: "You (Cricket Association of Bihar) argue your case. Let them (BCCI) argue their case. We will think very hard what can be done. Whatever order we will pass will be in the interest of the cricket."
Initiating the arguments for the petitioner CAB, senior counsel Harish Salve told the court that Srinivasan was in the cricketing body wearing different hats. At one point he was the member of BCCI in his capacity as Tamil Nadu Cricket Association's (TNCA)head, then in different capacities as office bearer of the national cricketing body also Indian Cements owning the franchise of Chennai Super Kings.
The earlier probe report by the two retired judges was a "brazen cover-up" where Meiyappan was presented as a "cricket enthusiast" while he was actively involved with the CSK at every stage including participating in its meeting where strategies of matches were planned and travelled with the team and participated in the IPL auctions.
Salve said that Mudgal Committee report should not be left to BCCI for taking action but should be investigated further. He said that the "report conclusively shows that the conflict of interest in action and cover up is writ large."
Pointing to moto Satyamev Jayate, Justice Patnaik said that truth will ultimately come out, it may take time.
Justice Patnbaik's observation came as Salve took the court through the material pointing to how the activities of Meiyappan were sought to be camouflaged behind the cover of his being a "cricket enthusiast". He said that efforts were made to erase his other activities when lid was blown off.
As court inquired if Super Kings would be playing in the current edition of IPL, Salve urged the court to "it has to be suspended as under BCCI code an act of corruption is any act of omission."
(Posted on 27-03-2014)