N Srinivasan is due to take over as head of the ICC in July 2014 © PTI
New Delhi: Mar 25, 2014
An International Cricket Council (ICC) spokesman said the world governing body “has no comment to offer at this stage” relating to the Indian Supreme Court’s observations on Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President N Srinivasan. The Supreme Court on Tuesday urged the powerful head of the country’s cricket board to stand down while an investigation is conducted into illegal betting, saying his refusal to quit so far was “nauseating”.
A two-judge panel warned it could order Srinivasan, regarded as the most powerful man in world cricket, to stand down unless he did so voluntarily as his continued presence in his post was hampering the investigation which involves his son-in-law.
Full coverage of Supreme Court hearing on IPL 2013 spot-fixing and betting scandal
“It is an internal matter of the BCCI,” the ICC spokesman told AFP in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on the sidelines of the ongoing ICC World T20 2014 tournament.
Justice AK Patnaik told the court in New Delhi, “Unless the BCCI president stands down, there can be no fair investigation. It’s nauseating.”
“Why is Srinivasan sticking to his chair? If you don’t step down, then we will pass an order,” he added.
The bench is looking at a damning report that it commissioned last year into wrongdoing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) following a betting and spot-fixing scandal that rocked the domestic Twenty20 tournament in 2013.
The report, released in February, concluded that Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan could be guilty of illegal betting on IPL games, in a major blow to Srinivasan who is due to take over as head of the ICC in July.
India is also the most powerful country in world cricket due to its vast television audience which enables the board to generate almost 70 per cent of the game’s revenues.
Meiyappan was the team principal of Chennai Super Kings, an IPL franchise owned by Srinivasan’s India Cements company and captained by national captain MS Dhoni.
The report, by a panel headed by retired judge Mukul Mudgal, suggested that Meiyappan may have passed on team information to outsiders for illegal betting, but did not specify what information or to whom.
“There are no definite findings by the Mudgal committee but the allegations are of a very serious nature,” Patnaik told the court.
“Whether the BCCI will act on the findings of the probe panel is a big, big question,” he added.
The judge asked the BCCI’s lawyers to go away and read a sealed section of the report which has not been made public and return on Thursday when the case will continue.
Why is N Srinivasan sticking to his chair? If you don’t step down, then we will pass an order
There was no immediate reaction available from Srinivasan or the BCCI on Tuesday, although he was quoted as saying by the NDTV network that he would “study” the court order.
Srinivasan, who has not himself been accused of any wrongdoing, stepped aside temporarily as BCCI president in June last year when Meiyappan was first named in connection with the scandal.
But after effectively resuming day-to-day control of the board, he then won elections for a third term in September.
Meiyappan and others have also been the target of a separate police investigation which has resulted in charges of forgery, cheating, criminal conspiracy, breach of contract and handing critical team information to alleged bookmakers.
The IPL has been hit by several scandals in recent years, including allegations of spot-fixing during last year’s tournament.
Test fast bowler S Sreesanth was subsequently banned from cricket for life after being found guilty of deliberately bowling badly in return for thousands of dollars from bookmakers.
Ankeet Chavan, a teammate of Sreesanth’s in the Rajasthan Royals team, was also handed a life ban following a probe by the BCCI’s anti-corruption chief Ravi Sawani.