BCCI Working Committtee set to meet on Friday

N Srinivasan has confirmed his presence in the BCCI Working Committee Meeting © IANS

New Delhi: Aug 1, 2013

Rattled by a Bombay High Court order which declared its probe into the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing scandal “illegal”, the Board of Control for Cricket in India‘s (BCCI) Working Committee will meet in New Delhi on Friday to discuss the matter amid indication that a defiant N Srinivasan will return as president despite the furore.

The meeting will consider all the legal implications of the High Court order and chalk out a future course of action.

An internal probe by two retired judges had cleared president-in-exile Srinivasan’s franchise Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra of charges of betting and spot-fixing.

Srinivasan, who had stepped aside for the duration of the BCCI probe, was set to be back as president in Friday’s meeting before the Bombay High Court turned the tide against the Tamil Nadu strongman.

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by the Cricket Association of Bihar, a two-judge division bench declared the two-member BCCI probe panel “unconstitutional and illegal”, taking the board completely by surprise.

According to a BCCI source, the Working Committee will take a decision on whether to immediately appeal against the verdict in the Supreme Court or wait till the police completes its probe in the matter. It can also explore the option of forming a new probe panel to reinvestigate the scandal.

Amid all the drama, what has remained unchanged is Srinivasan’s defiance. There is intense speculation that Srinivasan has already taken over as President though there is no confirmation yet.

BCCI officials are tight-lipped on the issue and some of them, when contacted, said that they were not aware of this development.

If Srinivasan indeed chairs the working committee meeting on Friday, it will mark his official taking over of the Board after a hiatus of nearly two months, during which Jagmohan Dalmiya served as interim chief.

Srinivasan has argued that he can be back at his job now that the internal inquiry commission to probe allegations of IPL spot-fixing and betting had completed its report and found no evidence against Chennai Super Kings and his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan.

However, there are indications that some BCCI officials are not too happy that Srinivasan has decided to attend the meeting which has again brought the spotlight on the Board.

The members feel that in view of the Bombay High Court’s verdict, it would be better if Srinivasan shelves his plans of returning as BCCI President for the time being.

With the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association being a permanent member of the BCCI Working Committee, Srinivasan might as well attend the meeting by virtue of being the president of the state body.

There is no official word from the BCCI on who would chair the meeting with Dalmiya also claiming to be unaware about what exactly is going on inside the Board right now.

“I’m totally in dark about what’s happening at the Board.

I’ve not been communicated anything. I’m just hearing all these in news reports,” Dalmiya has said.

The IPL spot-fixing scandal broke out when India pacer S Sreesanth, along with two other Rajasthan Royals players Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan and 11 bookies, was arrested for alleged spot-fixing in the IPL.

The contracts of the tainted players were terminated by their franchise, which also lodged a criminal complaint against them.

It snowballed into a crisis for the BCCI when Board Srinivasan’s son-in-law and Chennai Super Kings Team Principal Meiyappan was arrested on charges of betting on May 26.

A internal probe panel, originally comprising two retired judges and the then BCCI Secretary Sanjay Jagdale, was constituted on May 28 to investigate the allegations against Meiyappan, who maintained his innocence after getting bail.

Srinivasan, who owns the CSK franchise, remained defiant through the turmoil and refused to resign but had to step aside as BCCI President after a stormy emergent Board meeting on June 2 where Dalmiya took charge of an interim arrangement to run the Board’s affairs pending the inquiry.

The upheaval led to the resignations of Board Secretary Sanjay Jagdale and Treasurer Ajay Shirke, who asked for Srinivasan’s resignation on moral grounds.