Pawar joins the chorus as pressure mounts on Srinivasan to quit
New Delhi: Pressure from within mounted against N Srinivasan`s continuance as BCCI chief with heavyweights Rajeev Shukla and Arun Jaitley coming out in the open as Sharad Pawar slammed the incumbent who still refused to heed calls for resignation.
Pawar, a former BCCI President, with whom Srinivasan has fallen out, today broke his silence and demanded a Home Ministry probe into all the 75 matches of the IPL in the wake of spot-fixing and betting allegations.
Following all round attack on Srinivasan`s continuance as BCCI Chief in the wake of arrest of his son-in-law and CSK team owner Gurunath Meiyappan on charges of betting in IPL, Board heavyweights Shukla and Jaitley shed their reluctance and asked the Board chief to "disassociate" himself from the inquiry but stopped short of directly asking him to quit.
Srinivasan continued his defiance and brushed aside demands for his resignation. Board sources said that efforts were on to rally support among BCCI members to initiate steps for building more pressure so that he steps down on his own.
But politics in the Board showed with divisions emerging. Former BCCI Chief Jagmohan Dalmiya, who does not get along well with Pawar, parried all questions on whether Srinivasan should resign and said the Board-appointed inquiry commission is a "very, very good step".
While some state units today joined the chorus against Srinivasan, some also backed him.
"Till the pendency of inquiry, he (Srinivasan) should disassociate himself from the procedure as earlier also, it was discussed that he should disassociate. Disassociate, what it means is very clear", Shukla said.
"He will have to take a decision now. Mr Jaitley and I have suggested to him," Shukla said after meeting Jaitley.
"Credibility of the Board is supreme for us. We will act in the best interest of the Board and Indian cricket," he added.
Interestingly, Shukla did not utter the word resignation in his appeal to Srinivasan. Later, he announced that he would not run for another term as IPL Chairman in view of the current controversies bogging the Board in what is seen as intensifying the pressure on Srinivasan.
Shukla`s statement came a day after another BCCI official Jyotiraditya Scindia demanded Srinivasan`s resignation in the interest of cricket and in his own interest so that a proper probe could take place.
Two state unit officials -- G Vinod of Hyderabad Cricket Association and Chetan Chauhan of Delhi and District Cricket Association -- also sought Srinivasan`s resignation.
Pawar, a former BCCI chief under whom Srinivasan worked as Secretary, made no direct demand for Srinivasan`s ouster but claimed that when he was at the helm, such nonsense had not happened.
The Union Minister said he was saddened by the scandal surrounding the IPL and strongly endorsed former BCCI President Shashank Manohar`s suggestion for referring all the matches to a probe agency for ascertaining truth about allegations of spot-fixing.
Government, which has no control of the BCCI, also stepped in with the Sports Ministry issuing a statement demanding Srinivasan`s resignation on moral grounds.
Meanwhile, the two judges --Justice T Jayaram Chauta and R Balasubramaniam -- appointed as members of the three-member commission to go into allegation against Meiyappan and India Cements, the owner of CSK, promised that the inquiry will be free and fair and that they would not be under any pressure.
Chauta, a retired judge of Karnataka and Madras High Courts, said he had a credibility to keep and would not come under any pressure in doing the inquiry.
Balasubramaniam said if people believed him to be free and fair, he would be fair.
Both of them said that they would not ask Srinivasan to quit as that was not their remit. They also said they were yet to get the terms of reference for their inquiry.