In spite of being suspended by the Supreme Court, is N. Srinivasan still remote controlling the Board of Control for Cricket in India's affairs as far as the Indian Premier League scandal case in Supreme Court is concerned? A letter from Rajasthan Cricket Association written to acting BCCI president Shivlal Yadav on Wednesday clearly reflects a clear divide among members as at least 10 units have sought an emergency working committee meeting to understand how the case is being dealt with. Such an audacious move has never been seen among BCCI members in recent times.
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 wanted the Board to say how it will investigate the IPL scandal. The next hearing is on April 22.
The RCA has officially written to the BCCI asking who is directing the BCCI lawyers in the IPL scam case. The letter, written by RCA's officiating secretary KK Sharma, states: "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 state bodies allege 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.
For the first time, at least publicly, Srinivasan is facing such strong opposition in a Board that he has controlled with an iron hand since 2010. RCA is already at loggerheads with the BCCI on Lalit Modi's return as Rajasthan cricket chief and it is not a surprise that the association is now taking the lead is demanding an answer from the BCCI. A lot will depend on Yadav's 'power' to summon an emergency working committee meeting. If there is one, at least a three days' notice is mandatory. A meeting may then be possible on Sunday.
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.