Will chair BCCI AGM in Chennai Sep 29, asserts Srinivasan

Kolkata, Sep 1 (IANS) Seemingly calling the shots, Indian cricket board chief N. Srinivasan Sunday attended a meeting of its working committee and announced he will chair the annual general meeting (AGM) Sep 29 in Chennai.

However, apparently keeping in mind the court cases, he chose not to preside over the working committee meeting, which invited him to attend the parleys to discharge "certain constitutional and statutory functions of the president" till the next AGM.

"Yes, I will chair the meeting (AGM)," Srinivasan, who represented Tamil Nadu Cricket Association in the emergency working committee meeting, told the media here.

There was intense speculation that Srinivasan - who stepped aside in June after his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was arrested in connection with spot fixing and betting during the sixth edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) - may be seen in the chair.

Though a BCCI-appointed two-member committee last month handed a clean chit to Meiyappan, the Mumbai High Court declared the panel "illegal".

Srinivasan relented after hectic consultation with loyalists and other board members - including vice president Arun Jaitley over phone - since Saturday - and agreed to attend it as a TNCA representative.

Officially, the BCCI said the meeting was chaired by its interim chief Jagmohan Dalmiya.

A top BCCI official said Srinivasan presided when issues like signing the annual report and accounts and other technical issues came up.

The strategy that Srinivasan would attend the meeting following an invitation from the working committee to discharge "certain constitutional and statutory functions" was worked out by the official group in consultation with legal brains.

"Dalmiya informed the members that there were certain constitutional and statutory functions of the president which would have to be discharged by Srinivasan till the next AGM. It was decided that the working committee would invite the BCCI president to perform his functions and attend the meeting," BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said in a statement.

Pooh-poohing all criticism, Srinivasan said: "Did I do anything (wrong)? Was there any accusation against me? Only a section of the media is saying certain things."

Asked whether he was a relieved man, he said: "I was always a relieved man."

A board official said Srinivasan used his "presidential powers" to choose the venue in his home state Tamil Nadu.

Even as a board vice president said there was no "legal bar on Srinivasan" to not chair the AGM, Bihar cricket official Aditya Verma, who has taken on the might of the BCCI by filing a PIL against it, warned Srinivasan of legal consequences if he went ahead.

"He has stated in an affidavit before the court that he will not chair any BCCI meeting until the court gives a verdict. If he has the courage to defy the law, he will have to face the consequences," Verma, secretary of the unrecognised Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB), told IANS over phone.

Dalmiya will continue to look after the daily affairs of the board till Sep 29.

Quizzed repeatedly about the "constitutional and statutory functions" of the president, a seasoned BCCI official - who did not want to be named -indicated it was Srinivasan who wanted things to be handled that way.

"He said these are his functions, and he said these are Dalmiya's functions. You are intelligent. Your draw your conclusions."

A board official described the mood in Sunday's meeting as "cordial with none of the members indulging in slamming or criticising each other".

Asked whether Srinivasan could seek another term as president at the AGM, he said: "Anybody can seek extension. But it is up to the members to grant it."

The board also proposed a two-Test series with the West Indies in India in November, apparently to facilitate Sachin Tendulkar play his record 200th Test at home. The programme would be finalised by the board's tour and fixtures committee next week after receiving a nod from the Caribbean board.

The working committee approved sandwiching the West Indies visit between Australia's visit in October for a One-Day International Series and India's tour to South Africa, which has been "put on hold" by the board, apparently to put pressure on the South African authorities to agree to a revised schedule.

The West Indies are expected to play five One-Dayers during their short visit.

The board also approved tours to New Zealand and England in the month of January-February and July-September respectively.

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