N Srinivasan, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president who is under immense pressure to quit, has called for an emergency meeting of the country's top cricketing body in Chennai tomorrow at 2:30 pm. It was earlier scheduled to be held on June 8. All 16 members of the committee, including the five vice-presidents of the board, are expected to be present at the meeting.
The working committee meeting that Mr Srinivasan has been forced to call cannot vote him out. But it can ask that a special general body meeting be called where he can be impeached. 24 out of the 31 Board members have to vote at the special meeting in favour of his removal.
This comes just a few hours after he was allegedly delivered an ultimatum by top board members.
"Either you go or we go,' is reportedly what the five vice-presidents of the BCCI have told Mr Srinivasan, whose son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was arrested on May 24 on charges of betting on Indian Premier League (IPL) matches. (Read: 'ICC did not contact BCCI on Gurunath warning')
"I have just heard about the working committee meeting called for tomorrow (Sunday). I am also expecting a big announcement at the meeting," said IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla.
Among the vice-presidents who have taken on the chief is BJP leader Arun Jaitley who heads the Delhi and District Cricket Association. "You'll hear something significant today," he said this morning.
However, sources say, Mr Srinivasan remains adamant that he will not resign despite the scandal based on police allegations of betting and spot-fixing during the recently-concluded sixth edition of IPL, the massively-popular Twenty20 league, which ended on May 26 with the Mumbai Indians winning the annual tournament.
Mr Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was Team Principal of the Chennai Super Kings franchise, which means he was an important member of the team's management. But, once he was arrested, the franchise distanced itself from him and said he was just an 'honorary member'. Mr Srinivasan has said that he was not aware of his son-in-law's alleged betting activities.
But his stand was severely undermined yesterday when sources in the Mumbai Police shared phone transcripts from April that reveal Mr Meiyappan telling small-time Bollywood actor Vindu Dara Singh, also under arrest for betting, that the anti-corruption unit of the International Cricket Council had warned him to be careful about the company he keeps.
Mr Srinivasan and other senior members of the BCCI say that the warning may have been issued directly by the ICC to Mr Meiyappan and that they were not aware of any conversation that suggested the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit, which looks out for illegal betting and match-fixing, had told Mr Meiyappan that his activities were being watched.
The BCCI has 30 members including the chiefs of cricket bodies from major states. Yesterday, two senior members - secretary Sanjay Jagdale and treasurer Ajay Shirke - resigned, partly in protest against Mr Srinivasan's refusal to call an emergency meeting of the BCCI. (Related read: Shirke, Jagdale resign)
For Mr Srinivasan to be ousted, three-fourth of the board members will have to vote against him. So far, he reportedly has the support of at least 11 members, which means he could save his post if a vote is called for. But though he may have the numbers, the resignations of high-profile members betray the board's lack of confidence in Mr Srinivasan, which could possibly embarrass him into quitting.
The scandal around alleged spot-fixing erupted two weeks ago when S Sreesanth and two other players from the Rajasthan Royals were arrested by the Delhi Police on charges that they were in touch with bookies and spot-fixed matches. This came after the police reportedly intercepted hundreds of phone calls between these players and bookies. (Ankeet Chavan released from Tihar jail for marriage)
Sreesanth and Ajit Chandila are in custody. Ankeet Chavan has been granted bail till June 6 to attend his wedding. Sreesanth has said "I am innocent and have done no wrong. I have never indulged in any spot-fixing."