SC asks Srinivasan to choose between BCCI and IPL

Zeecric Bureau

Chennai: In a severe blow to the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India), the Supreme Court on Thursday questioned N Srinivasan’s dual roles as a secretary of the board and also the owner of the IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings.

The Apex court pronounced its judgment after former BCCI president A C Muthiah had challenged the Madras High Court`s order upholding the validity of certain amendments in BCCI governing council, alleging that it was done to favour BCCI secretary N Srinivasan who owns the Chennai Super Kings T-20 squad.

The bench also observed that Srinivasan, who is also the BCCI-chief-in-waiting, can’t enjoy both the posts as it occurs to be a severe case of conflict of interest. They also asked him to choose between the board and the IPL ownership.

Castigating the Indian cricket board, the bench also observed that was is beyond their imagination how the BCCI was supporting Srinivasan’s case as it is ‘as good as the case of office of profit’.

Opening the arguments before a Bench comprising Justices J M Panchal and Gyan Sudha Mishra, senior advocate Abhishekh Singhvi, appearing for Muthiah, contended that under the unamended clause, no administrator of BCCI could have, directly or indirectly, any commercial interest in the matches or events conducted by the board.

He submitted "the new regulation was brought only to favour N Srinivasan" who was the treasurer of the BCCI when he was bidding for the Chennai team.

He said there is a conflict of interest as the Chennai team is owned by Indian Cement Ltd in which Srinivasan is a share holder, Vice President and Managing Director.

The senior advocate informed the court about the sequence of events from the start of IPL in 2007 to the amendment of the clause in September 2008 to buttress the point that the change in the rule was brought out in illegal manner to benefit Srinivasan as there was a conflict of interest.

He contended the decision to exclude IPL and T-20 tournaments from the purview of the board`s regulation was "illegal and opposed to public policy."

Muthiah contended that amendment in clause 6.2.4 was done without following the proper procedure.

Singhvi said while Srinivasan was bidding for the Chennai team in January 2008, Muthiah had made a complaint to BCCI citing the regulation that no member of the board will have commercial interest in IPL.

He said Srinivasan, who has controlling mind and power for Indian Cement Ltd was having commercial interest while bidding for Chennai team.

The senior advocate said amendment was brought at BCCI`s AGM on September 27, 2008, without bringing the issue in the agenda for which a notice would have been given 21 days in advance.

He said when no reply was given by BCCI on the issue of agenda for the AGM, Muthiah filed the first lawsuit on September 24, 2008 and second on September 26 in a trial court in Chennai.

Even then BCCI has not made any statement about amending the regulation.

At the outset, Attorney General G E Vahanvati, appearing for BCCI, said the matter has to go to the trial court.