Under-pressure from at least eight affiliated units to 'reveal' how the Board of Control for Cricket in India is handling the 2013 Indian Premier League spot-fixing and betting scandal in Supreme Court, the Board has convened an emergency working committee meeting in Mumbai on Sunday.
Angry members, spearheaded by the Rajasthan Cricket Association, had written to BCCI's interim president Shivlal Yadav on Wednesday to summon a meeting after a Supreme Court bench directed the Board's counsel to explain how the BCCI will investigate the scam that broke in May last year. The BCCI's lawyers will have to come up with an answer when the court hears the case again on April 22.
At least eight BCCI units, including one from South Zone and two each from East and West, are reporrtedly unhappy that the BCCI has showed no transparency in sharing details with members on how the case is being handled.
By an interim order on March 28, the Supreme Court had removed Srinivasan as Board president and appointed Yadav and former Test captain Sunil Gavaskar as interim BCCI heads till a fair probe on the IPL corruption case was done. On Wednesday, the court once again rejected Srinivasan's appeal to reinstate him as BCCI chief and asked the Board to say how it will investigate the IPL scandal.
RCA, which is at loggerheads with the BCCI on Lalit Modi's return as Rajasthan cricket chief, took the lead in forcing the BCCI to call the meeting. RCA's officiating secretary KK Sharma, wrote to Yadav saying: "We have noticed the observations of the Supreme Court during today's (Wednesday's) hearing. We are unaware as to who is instructing the counsel appearing for the Board in the said matter. The issues have never been discussed at a Board Meeting and no Board Meeting has been convened in this regard.
"We do not want that the stance taken by the Board should damage the reputation of the Board and Players and therefore we request you to convene an Emergent Working Committee Meeting of the Board on 20.04.2014 at the Headquarters of the Board in Mumbai to discuss the matters pending before the Supreme Court as the said matter is now listed for 22.04.2014. We feel that the Board Counsel should be instructed about Board decision and should not take instructions from certain individuals."
The aggrieved units are alleging that all decisions are being taken unilaterally by Srinivasan, whose son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan is facing charges of betting in IPL 2013. The court has said that no fair probe can be done as long as Srinivasan remains BCCI president. Srinivasan's company India Cements owns Chennai Super Kings, a team that was practically run by Meiyappan for the first six editions of the IPL.
BCCI top bosses, including secretary Sanjay Patel and Yadav, will now have to fly back to Mumbai to attend Sunday afternoon's meeting. Both of them are in Dubai for the Indian Premier League's first leg in the UAE. It is not clear whether Gavaskar, now a co-opted member of the working committee, will attend.
The BCCI is in a fix after the court on Wednesday revealed that Srinivasan's name figures in the IPL probe committee report. The names of 12 other players are also mentioned in the Justice Mukul Mudgal report submitted to the apex court on February 10. The court said there are a dozen allegations against Srinivasan in the report.
The Supreme Court now wants the BCCI to tell how it will conduct a probe into the scam. The two-judge bench said that it is not inclined to order a CBI or SIT probe as it would sully the image of cricketers and undermine the autonomy of cricket Board.
"We are not considering the SIT because we don't want the CBI or the police or the media to throw mud on cricketers," Justice AK Patnaik, one of the two judges, said. "Reputations of cricketers and great names are at stake. What happens to the reputation of the players who are representing the country and Indian cricketers of the future. Cricket has to be clean but institutional autonomy has to be maintained," he added.