Not too long ago N Srinivasan ruled the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) like his private fiefdom. Even though he was dethroned in March, the cement baron continue to call the shots in the board.
But, on Friday, all this changed when the working committee assembled in the hometown of president Jagmohan Dalmiya. The meeting merely lasted a few minutes before being adjourned sine die due to the presence of the disgraced Srinivasan, who was there in his capacity as Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) president.
A section of the BCCI, headed by Mumbai Cricket Association president Sharad Pawar, was apprehensive that the board would invite the Supreme Court’s wrath by allowing Srinivasan to attend the meeting. After all, the apex court has clearly said that Srinivasan must to “stay away” from all BCCI activities till the Justice RM Lodha Committee submits its final report.
Some Srinivasan loyalists, including Indian Premier League chairman Rajeev Shukla and BCCI treasurer Anirudh Chaudhary, were hoping to find a middle path after Srinivasan explained that his position as managing director of India Cements would not amount to a conflict because the company is a respondent in the writ petition filed by Chennai Super Kings Cricket Ltd against the team’s suspension. All this talk happened before the start of the working committee. Srinivasan also told some members that he had already transferred his shares in CSK to a trust created for the benefit of former cricketers employed by India Cements. This, he said, proved that he had “nothing to do” with CSK. He even placed before Pawar Justice BN Srikrishna’s opinion which, he claimed, entitled him to attend BCCI meetings. However, none of this helped.
Some members then asked Srinivasan to attend the meeting at his “own risk”. The Chennai strongman immediately latched onto the chance, assuring Pawar that the onus of facing contempt charges lay with him. However, Pawar told Dalmiya that he could not risk another Supreme Court rap. “The BCCI is already facing legal troubles and by allowing him (Srini) to attend the meeting could well make matters worse,” Pawar told the gathering. In fact, Pawar told Dalmiya to “adjourn the meeting sine die”. Dalmiya, who is struggling with health issues, read out a statement and the meeting was over before it started.
BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur was also dead against Srinivasan’s presence inside the hall. “He also tried to convince him by showing a copy of the Supreme Court’s judgment, but Srinivasan refused to budge as always,” an official told dna. Srinivasan said he would step out of the room when the committee would take up the matter of CSK. When BCCI legal adviser Ushanath Banerjee said he was not sure about Srinivasan’s legal standing as of now, Dalmiya adjourned the meeting.
It is learnt that Shukla was in favour of Srinivasan attending the meeting because he is ICC chairman. The BCCI has now decided to approach the Supreme Court for its view. The BCCI is likely to hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Kolkata on September 27.
It will be another round of ‘war’ among officials as Srinivasan will be keen to extract his pound of flesh. The BCCI dispensation, though, may be keen to him off his perch in the ICC.