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Home / Politics / Policy /  IPL spot-fixing: SC says N. Srinivasan’s conflict of interest obvious

New Delhi: The Supreme Court continued its scathing observations on the way Indian cricket is run and the conflict of interest in the Board of Control for Cricket’s in-limbo President owning a team, the Chennai Super Kings, through his company, India Cements Ltd.

The big development of the day, however, was the surprising acceptance of all parties, including BCCI and Srinivasan’s that the latter’s son-in-law, Gurunath Meiyappan, who has been accused of betting, was a “team official" and not merely a “cricket enthusiast" as he had been originally described by Srinivasan when the controversy broke.

The court also said BCCI’s annual meeting scheduled for 17 December could proceed, but asked those involved in the case to stay away.

The court also said Chennai Super Kings could be disqualified from the Indian Premier League on the basis of the findings of the Justice Mudgal committee that had investigated fixing and betting in the popular Twenty20 league.

The court, however, passed no order or direction. Its observations are usually a reflection of its thinking but may or may not have a bearing on the final decision in the case.

The court said that if Srinivasan was the president of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), his duty was to ensure that the game remained free from “betting", “spot-fixing" and other “corrupt practices", while as a “team owner" his “interest" was that his team remained “in the reckoning".

A two-judge bench of justices T.S. Thakur and F.M.I. Kalifulla also sought details on the shareholding and board of India Cements, which owns Chennai Super Kings (CSK), an Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise. The court said it wanted to know who the “real owner" of CSK was. Judge Thakur noted that the distinction between Srinivasan, India Cements and BCCI was “vanishing".

The court is hearing the IPL spot fixing case. The court also wanted to look into whether Meiyappan was in “indirect control" of the Chennai Super Kings.

The cricket body’s lawyer C.A. Sundaram told the court it has been the BCCI’s position from the beginning that Meiyappan was a team official. When the court asked if any party disputed the fact that Meiyappan was a team official, none of the lawyers representing BCCI, Srinivasan or India Cements said otherwise.

The court was also in favour of fresh elections to BCCI and subsequent action by the board against individuals who were found in violation of the IPL code of conduct. The court added that the Mudgal committee could decide what punishment ought to be given. Srinivasan’s lawyer Kapil Sibal also contested the fact that he had referred to Meiyappan as a “cricket enthusiast" before the Mudgal committee and asked the court to look at the transcribed recorded depositions before the committee.

The petitioner, Cricket Association of Bihar, concluded its arguments on Thursday, while asking for the court to intervene in the affairs of a private organisation performing public function.

The court observed that doing this would mean a change from its earlier position.

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