At about 1 pm on Wednesday, Rajeev Shukla, IPL boss and union minister, said it would be best if BCCI chief N Srinivasan stays away from the activities of the cricket board till an inquiry into alleged spot-fixing was finished. By three he seemed to have nuanced his stand to say Mr Srinivasan should dissociate himself from the inquiry process. Neither advice seemed to stop Mr Srinivasan and he went about business as usual, reiterating that he would not resign.
"Rajeev Shukla has said that I should disassociate myself from the probe. During the press conference in Kolkata last week I had stated that I will have nothing to do with the probe," Srinivasan said, and added, "Mr Shukla has just re-iterated what I have said. The inquiry commission is an independent panel consisting of two judges and a BCCI member." The panel will investigate allegations of betting against Mr Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, a member of the Chennai Super Kings squad.
The clamour for the resignation of the BCCI boss over what his detractors call a conflict of interest at the very least is growing. Jyotiraditya Scindia was the first politician associated with the cricket board to unambiguously suggest that Mr Srinivasan should resign. Today, sports minister Jitendra Singh said, "BCCI is inquiring into allegations of match and spot fixing. As there is a conflict of interest in this inquiry, the BCCI President should tender his resignation on moral grounds, pending its outcome." (Also read: In BCCI's three-member probe panel, flip-flop and signs of pressure)
Top BCCI sources say it will not be easy to oust Mr Srinivasan. He is an elected functionary and two-thirds of the 30-member BCCI Working Committee has to vote in favour of his removal before he can be asked to go.
This morning, Mr Shukla met Arun Jaitley, a BCCI vice-president and an influential member in the Board, before suggesting that Mr Srinivasan "step aside". "He is an elected president and we have suggested that...till the probe into the IPL controversy is completed, N Srinivasan should dissociate himself from the board... It is finally his decision to step aside or not but considering the image of the Board, Srinivasan can temporarily keep away from BCCI's activities," Shukla said. he said, "The credibility of Board is supreme and the image of cricket in the country is important to us."
This is the first time that Mr Shukla, a known Srinivasan ally, has said anything that might be construed as against the BCCI president. Two hours later, Mr Shukla seemed softer on the issue when he said, "Till the probe into the IPL controversy is completed, BCCI chief N Srinivasan should dissociate himself from the board." added Shukla. "The credibility of Board is supreme and the image of cricket in the country is important to us."
The defiant Srinivasan is in Mumbai and has apparently held meetings at the BCCI office for the entire morning on Wednesday with cricket officials, showing no signs stepping back.
Srinivasan is in hot water after Gurunath Meiyappan, his son-in-law and a member of the Chennai Super Kings team, was arrested for alleged links with match-fixers. Srinivasan's company India Cements are the owners of the Chennai team.