The Supreme Court said on Monday that it will decide on October 7 N. Srinivasan's return as Board of Control for Cricket in India president. At the Board's Annual General Meeting in Chennai on Sunday, Srinivasan had won a year's extension after completing his two-year term this month.
Hearing an application filed by the Cricket Association of Bihar seeking an injunction on Srinivasan performing his duties as president of the BCCI, the apex court said on Monday it was concerned with the happenings in the Board and particularly, the IPL. The court said: "Fact is so many things are coming out of IPL and BCCI, something is seriously wrong with the apex body controlling cricket."
In August, the Bihar body moved the Supreme Court to institute a fresh panel to probe the Indian Premier League spot-fixing and betting scandals. Bihar's lawyers said Srinivasan had no "moral authority" to continue as BCCI president since his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was allegedly involved with betting on IPL matches. Meiyappan has now been charge-sheeted by Mumbai Police.
On Monday, the BCCI lawyer told the Supreme Court bench that Srinivasan should be allowed to continue as BCCI head and that the Board will constitute a fresh panel to investigate allegations of corruption in IPL 2013. It has proposed the names of senior advocates Arun Jaitley and Niloy Dutta. The court has now left it to Bihar's lawyers to approve the panel.
Even though the BCCI lawyer said Srinivasan will not meddle with IPL-related issues, the Supreme Court bench consisting of Justice A.K. Patnaik and Jagdish Singh Khehar said: "Don't be in a hurry …we will take up the case on October 7. The other side (Bihar) also agreed that BCCI chief has to discharge his duties…BCCI must continue its work and so president has to function. At the same time his function should not affect the fairness of the probe. But why has BCCI lost its credibility?"
The Bihar association has been a thorn in Srinivasan's flesh. All hell broke loose on the BCCI when the Bombay High Court on July 30 termed the probe panel set up by the Indian cricket board to investigate the role of IPL team owners and management in the spot-fixing and betting scandal as "illegal and unconstitutional". The BCCI probe panel, comprising former judges T Jayaram Chouta and R Balasubramanian, had given a clean chit to Meiyappan and Rajasthan Royals co-promoter Raj Kundra in the scandal.
The Bombay High Court had acted on a PIL filed by Bihar association secretary Aditya Verma. The PIL questioned the sanctity of the panel as it was constituted while Srinivasan was still the president. He stepped aside only on June 2, even though there were demands from many sections for Srinivasan to resign to ensure a free and fair inquiry.
The BCCI challenged the Bombay High Court order in the Supreme Court by filing an SLP on August 5. In its 13-page petition, the BCCI had sought to contest the High Court order on various grounds including its decision to entertain the Bihar PIL given the Board's status as a private body. It also sought to challenge the petitioner's right to file a PIL and question the legality of the inquiry panel when Bihar was not even part of the Board.