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Zee was given exclusive telecast, radio broadcast and internet rights of India’s overseas matches till March 31, 2011 © Getty Images

New Delhi: Nov 16, 2012

 

A Supreme Court tribunal has asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to pay Rs 120 crore as damages to Zee Entertainment Enterprises for “arbitrarily” terminating a five-year contract for broadcast of India’s overseas cricket matches.

 

A three-member arbitral tribunal comprising two former Chief Justices of India, AS Anand and YK Sabharwal, and retired Supreme Court judge BN Srikrishna made the decision, the Times of India reported.

 

The tribunal said, “In our view, the claimant (Zee) is entitled to be awarded damages in view of illegal and unlawful termination of agreement by the respondent (BCCI) and also on account of illegal blacklisting.”

 

The board had signed an agreement with Zee on April 12, 2006 as per which Zee was given exclusive telecast, radio broadcast and internet rights of overseas matches till March 31, 2011.

 

But due to the commencement of the Indian Cricket League (ICL), things got bitter between the BCCI and Zee.

 

On May 31, 2007, the BCCI sought to terminate the contract with Zee, and informed its affiliates declaring ICL to be an ‘unapproved tournament’ and sought action against players, officials and affiliates associated.

 

Zee Entertainment Enterprises invoked arbitration, complaining that “introduction and implementation of ICL became a reason for BCCI proceeding against Zee in a completely arbitrary, discriminatory, unlawful and illegal fashion in relation to the rights of Zee under the global telecast rights for overseas matches to be played by India in terms of the agreement dated April 12, 2006″.

 

Maninder Singh, a senior advocate and Zee’s counsel told the tribunal, “BCCI went to the extent of sacking one of the greatest cricket players produced by India, namely Kapil Dev, who had volunteered to guide and help the ICL in its efforts for betterment of the game of cricket.”

 

In 2007, Zee sought Rs 480 crore as damages from the BCCI.

 

The tribunal has accepted the argument that the cricket governing body in the country illegally terminated the contract and thus causing loss to the channel.

 

The BCCI has now been asked to pay Rs 30 crore security deposit with 11% interest from May 31, 2007, and also to pay Rs 81.36 crore in a month failing which the sum would attract 11% penal interest, the report added.