N Srinivasan will chair BCCI Annual General Meeting on March 2

On February 8, when the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s Working Committee (WC) members met to finalise the date of Annual General Meeting in accordance with the Supreme Court orders to hold elections, they were in for a surprise as N Srinivasan grabbed the president’s chair and the mic to address the meeting.

The grand old man of Indian cricket, Jagmohan Dalmiya, and senior vice-president of the Goa Cricket Association Shekhar Salkar, were among those who had reservations. But, on hearing the legal counsel, they just kept quiet and left the matter to those “who have sound legal knowledge to answer to the highest court of India”.

According to Salkar, Srinivasan’s legal counsel told the WC members that the “final order barring Srinivasan from functioning as president of BCCI” made all previous orders “infructuous”.

“We all were given an impression that Apex Court in its January 22 order had not barred Srinivasan from functioning as president. We were made to believe that the interim orders of March 25, 2014 by Justice AK Patnaik and FM Kalifullah had no meaning after the final verdict,” Salkar told dna.

Where in the judgment was it written that the Supreme Court special bench of Justice TS Thakur and Justice Kalifullah had reinstated Srinivasan?

And if this audacity could also lead to contempt proceedings against all members present at the meeting?

Cricket Association of Bengal president Dalmiya had a straight answer to this query. “I think the people concerned will have to reply to this. As a layman, I’m not the right man to answer all this. If it is contempt, let them face it,” the man who could also be one of the challengers for top BCCI post played it safe.

Salkar, on the other hand, was categorical in his explanation. “Forget this meeting, we’ve been told that Srinivasan will be the one who will chair the AGM and election meeting on March 2. If a legal expert is explaining to all members that Srinivasan is allowed to chair meeting, then we had no choice but to accept this,” Salkar said.

He went on to say that if he is called by the Supreme Court to explain his position in this regard, he would have no hesitation in giving it in writing. “If tomorrow Supreme Court asks us to file an affidavit on the entire thing, I’m ready to give it in writing. I’ve nothing to hide,” said the Goa representative.

This paper had reported on December 9, 2014 how the special bench slammed Srinivasan for attending earlier BCCI meetings as Tamil Nadu Cricket Association’s representative, despite claiming to have ‘sidestepped’ from its working.

Srinivasan loyalist, however, gives the other side of the story. “Srinivasan is busy in demerging his Chennai Super Kings’ team from the parent India Cements Ltd. Once he does that, he should be able to sell this to some other party. It will be then that his (Srinivasan’s) legal team would move a ‘review petition’ before the Supreme Court of the January 22 order,” a senior BCCI member said on condition of anonymity.

However, there was no answer to the query on “how CSK can be sold when the Apex Court has held its team official Gurunath Meiyappan guilty of betting during the Indian Premier League” and asked “BCCI to initiate action as per the rules”.

With petitioner and Cricket Association of Bihar secretary general Aditya Verma preparing to file a contempt case in SC later this week, it would be interesting to see how Srinivasan’s high profile lawyers – who apologised inside the court room for his attendance in the BCCI meetings – are going to convince the Court this time around!