IPL COO was only watching fun, says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up Indian Premier League chief operating officer (COO) Sundar Raman and said that he did not do his job properly and appeared to be only interested in serving the VVIPs during the course of matches.

The court also decided to examine the controversial amendment in the BCCI rules which allows office bearers to own teams in the IPL and Champions League.

Coming down heavily on Sundar Raman, whom the Justice Mukul Mudgal panel has named for not taking any action despite being in the know about the betting activities of Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra, the special bench of Justice TS Thakur and FM Kalifullah observed that ‘he was only watching the fun’.

“You didn’t deem fit to register a complaint because you were taking care of celebrities. You were only watching the fun. How can you take action against the son-in-law of your employer (president),” the court wondered if Sundar Raman was worried that his job was at stake.

In his defence, Sundar Raman clarified: “The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) chief YP Singh did actually inform him about rumours that certain franchisee owners were involved in betting. I asked YP Singh about the authenticity of information. And I was told that these are based on floating rumours. People seem to be talking about many things, so it was not necessary on part of me to inform BCCI on all this. He never made any complaint with me under which I could have proceeded further.”

Sundar Raman is considered as a close aide of Srinivasan and has been managing the affairs of IPL since its inception in 2008.

On his reported conversation with Vindoo Dara Singh — eight times in one season — Sundar Raman’s defence was that ‘he didn’t know that Vindoo Dara Singh was contact of a bookie. I knew him because he was coming to watch every match and so I met him’.

The debate in the Apex Court is expected to come to an end on Tuesday as the special bench will look into the issue of conflict of interest of N Srinivasan and more crucially the BCCI’s clause 6.2.4 which allowed its office bearers to own an IPL team.

The BCCI clause 6.2.4 clearly said before the amendment that “No administrator shall have, directly or indirectly, any commercial interest in the matches and events conducted by the board”. But it has been argued before the Court that it was amended to suit Srinivasan in particular.

“No administrator shall have directly or indirectly any commercial interest in any of the events of BCCI, excluding IPL, Champions League and Twenty20,” former BCCI president IS Bindra’s counsel argued that it was only this amendment which is allegedly at the heart of all the present problems.