New Delhi: N Srinivasan on Wednesday submitted an undertaking in the Supreme Court to state he would stay away from all Indian Premier League (IPL) related issues if elected as board President.
The SC shows no signs of letting up as it told the BCCI that the game of cricket will collapse if people's confidence in the sport is not restored.
The BCCI President-in-exile also stated he would completely dissociate from IPL till a mechanism on conflict of interest was evolved. Srinivasan sought the permission of the SC to contest BCCI election.
All through the IPL spot-fixing and betting case hearing, the apex court has been consistently critical of Srinivasan's conflict of interest by virtue of being the BCCI chief and owner of Chennai Super Kings franchise in the IPL.
During previous hearings, the court had recommended that BCCI should proceed with their pending elections minus Srinivasan.
The BCCI counsel opposed setting up of high power panel to look into conflict of interest issue and punishment to be meted out on the basis of Mudgal committee. The board felt that a high power committee would affect the autonomy of the cricket board.
To which, the court responded saying instead of BCCI nominees, the high power committee would have members nominated by the SC.
BCCI on Tuesday replied to the SC with five alternatives in order to decide on the course of action or punishment to those found guilty in the IPL spot-fixing and betting case. This committee would decide the future course of action in this matter along with the punishment to be meted out.
The BCCI pleaded to the court to not make findings of Mudgal probe panel binding.
India Cements defends Gurunath Meiyappan
India Cements, company that owns CSK, defended Gurunath Meiyappan saying he didn't bet on IPL matches from venue and that there was no way the company could have prevented him from betting.
SC rejected India Cements argument by saying the location of placing a bet was irrelevent.
The court asked for Team India's World Cup itinerary from the BCCI.
Following were the five options that BCCI submitted to the court.
BCCI’s internal disciplinary committee may look after the issue.
BCCI may nominate a committee of two independent experts
Court may appoint a disciplinary committee
Court may appoint a committee of 2 judicial officers
Mudgal Committee itself may decide on the course of action or punishment
However, the matter was adjourned for Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, the apex court told Srinivasan that immediate action needed to be taken against Gurunath Meiyappan and felt the best way to ensure this would be to keep the BCCI President-in-exile out of it.
The SC further recommended three options to Srinivasan's counsel to proceed further in the matter.
Option 1: Resume with BCCI elections without Srinivasan and constitute a new BCCI body to decide over the matter.
Option 2: Constitute a body of BCCI governing council members to decide over the matter.
Option 3: `Constitute a committee of former judges that will take decision on the impending BCCI elections as well as other matters.
Srinivasan's counsel inquired with the SC if any other options other than three suggested by it could be explored, to which the court responded by setting a deadline of IST 2:00 pm for Srinivasan's legal team to come up with an alternative.
The court got tough on Srinivasan as it asked him whether his 400 crore investment in purchasing IPL team was love for cricket or business?
Supreme Court kept the pressure on N Srinivasan in the IPL spot-fixing and betting case as it objected to him attending Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) meetings despite stepping aside as cricket administrator.
Clearly on the backfoot, Srinivasan admitted to his mistake and told the court that he should not have taken part in the TNCA meetings.
During the December 8 hearing, the bench headed by Justice S Thakur and F M Kalifullah had grilled Srinivasan on conflict of interest and said it was difficult for it to accept that the involvement of his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan - a team official of Chennai Super Kings - in betting during the IPL 2013 did not result in conflict of interest.
"Srinivasan is the vice chairman and managing director of India Cement Limited, an owner of IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings, your son-in-law is a team official and he is involved in betting. It is very difficult to accept the proposition that there is no conflict of interest," said the
Making distinction between commercial interest and what a professional gets paid for rendering professional services, the court had said: "Those who invest money to earn money and those who give professional advice and get money (for it) are two different things."
In the previous hearings, the court had questioned the BCCI as to why IPL franchise CSK shouldn't be disqualified from the IPL and asked them to act immediately on the Justice (Retd) Mukul Mudgal report.
The court also had said that BCCI elections should go ahead, but directed that all board members who are under investigation to keep away. Then, it asked the Indian board if there was any provision in its constitution to debar Srinivasan from contesting the BCCI polls in future.
Spot-fixing and betting scandal in cricket surfaced in 2013 with Delhi Police arresting three Rajasthan Royals players of cash rich IPL – S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan – in a midnight raid in Mumbai. Then, Mumbai police also unearthed betting links after they arrested Srinivasan's son-in-law Meiyappan and Bollywood actor Vindu Dara Singh.
Last October, the apex court had constituted the Justice Mukul Mudgal committee to investigate the IPL spot-fixing and betting case. The three-member panel led by Justice Mudgal, a retired Punjab and Haryana High Court judge, also includes Additional Solicitor General L Nageswara Rao and senior advocate Nilay Dutta in the committee.
And on February 10 this year, the committee submitted its first report to the court after conducting a four-month long probe. It is learnt that cricketers, board officials, cops, lawyers and even journalists had deposed before the panel and their depositions were recorded during the probe.
In the follow up, the court had asked the committee to continue its investigation of the persons named in the sealed envelope and the committee was also given greater powers to effectively conduct its probe.
Then, the committee submitted its final report to the apex court on November 3, thus allowing the court to proceed with the final phase of hearing.
With agency inputs