NEW DELHI(WEB TEAM): The Supreme Court on Thursday in its verdict on the IPL betting…
New Delhi,Prabhati Nayak Mishra: In a major blow to suspended BCCI president N Srinivasan, the Supreme Court on Thursday barred him from contesting the next round of the cricket body’s elections unless and until he gives up his stake in the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) IPL franchise.
Accepting the findings of probe committee headed by Justice Mukul Mudgal, which said that Gurunath Meiyappan (Srinivasan’s son-in-law and CSK team principal) and Raj Kundra (Rajasthan Royals co-owner) indulged in betting during the 2013 IPL, the court held both of them guilty of the offence. Pronouncing a 138-page judgment, the special bench of Justices TS Thakur and FM Ibrahim Kalifulla said Srinivasan played no role in shielding his son-in-law, but set up a new three-member judicial panel to recommend sanctions against Meiyappan, Kundra and their respective franchises.
Directing the BCCI to hold its elections within six weeks, the bench disqualified Srinivasan from taking part in the elections, saying “no one who has any commercial interest in the BCCI events (including N Srinivasan) shall be eligible for contesting the elections for any post whatsoever.
“We make it clear that the disqualification is applicable to those who are holding any commercial interest in BCCI events shall hold good and continue till such time the person concerned holds such commercial interest or till the committee (judicial) considers and awards suitable punishment to those liable for the same; whichever is late.” The bench, which answered seven questions including whether the BCCI is a ‘state under the Constitution or not’, whether amendments in BCCI rules permit its administrators to have commercial interest in its events like IPL and Champions League Twenty20, also struck down the rules amended by Srinivasan allowing him to hold a BCCI post and own an IPL franchise.
The bench disagreed with Srinivasan’s lawyer, former Union law minister Kapil Sibal, that the commercial interest of an administrator in the IPL can never be in conflict with the administrator’s duty in the BCCI.
The contention that Srinivasan held a small share in India Cements Ltd, owners of CSK, was misleading since his family directly or indirectly holds much more control in the company. The bench said the amendment to BCCI rules permitting an administrator to have commercial interest in the game was in “breach of duty” and coming in the way of “purity of the game”. Striking down the amendment in Rule 6.2.4, the court said: “It is a true villain of the situation,” and said Srinivasan being BCCI president and vice-chairman and managing director of India Cements created a situation of conflict of interest.
While answering the question on whether the charges against Meiyappan and Kundra were proved, the bench said, “We, therefore, see no real, much less compelling reason, for us to disagree or reverse the finding recorded by the probe committee. We see no reason to disagree with the conclusion of the committee that Meiyappan was indeed indulging in betting.” Similarly, the court agreed with the committee’s findings against Kundra for his involvement in betting and rejected Kundra’s argument that he was not the owner as his family own just 11 per cent equity in the holding company, Jaipur IPL Cricket Private Ltd.
The court asked the new panel to not only recommend the quantum of sentence against Meiyappan and Kundra but also examine the role of IPL chief operating officer Sundar Raman in the scam. The panel, which comprises former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha and former Supreme Court judges Ashok Bhan and RV Ravindran, has been asked to make recommendations and suggest amendments to the processes followed by the BCCI “with a view to preventing sporting frauds, conflict of interests, streamlining the working of BCCI to make it more responsive to the expectations of the public at large”.
IN A NUTSHELL
Srinivasan has to choose between BCCI post and Chennai Super Kings ownership
SC strikes down amendment to Rule 6.2.4 of the BCCI’s constitution, which permitted its administrators from having commercial interests in IPL and other tournaments.
BCCI has to hold elections within six weeks
A new panel, comprising former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha and former Supreme Court judges Ashok Bhan and RV Ravindran, will decide on the quantum of punishment for Gurunath Meiyappan (former team principal of CSK) and Raj Kundra (co-owner of Rajasthan Royals) for indulging in betting as well explore the role of IPL COO Sundar Raman. The panel has six months to decide
The new committee will also “examine and make suitable recommendations to the BCCI for such reforms in its practices and procedures and such amendments in the Memorandum of Association, Rules and Regulations as may be considered necessary and proper”. It can amend the BCCI’s constitution and even bring it under RTI