NEW DELHI: India's Supreme Court on Tuesday reinstated N. Srinivasan as the country's cricket chief, but ordered him to stay away from a fresh spot-fixing probe to be monitored by it. Srinivasan, 68, widely regarded as the most powerful man in world cricket, had been barred by the court from taking charge since his election as the BCCI chief for a third year on September 29.
"Srinivasan can take over as BCCI president, but we have also formed a new probe panel to investigate the case," ruled A.K. Patnaik, one of the two judges who heard the case in the capital New Delhi. The court appointed a three-member panel headed by a former judge to investigate the scandal that has rocked the popular Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament run by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
It said the panel, whose expenses will be borne by the BCCI, had four months to submit its findings to the court. The verdict came after Srinivasan agreed not to interfere in the panel's working, a BCCI lawyer told reporters. The probe will be separate from continuing investigations by police, who have filed charges in court against a string of officials, players and bookmakers in the scandal.
A cricket body in the eastern state of Bihar which is not affiliated to the BCCI had petitioned the court to prevent Srinivasan's return on moral grounds because his son-in-law had been charged in the scandal. The son-in-law, Gurunath Meiyappan, was the team principal of the Chennai Super Kings, the IPL franchise owned by Srinivasan's India Cements company and captained by national skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Srinivasan, who has not himself been accused of any wrongdoing, stepped aside temporarily as BCCI president in June when Meiyappan was named in the scandal. The Bihar association had argued in court that a previous internal BCCI probe had absolved Srinivasan, Meiyappan, India Cements and other IPL officials of wrongdoing even before police had filed charges in court.
Srinivasan's hold on world cricket stems from India's vast television audience, which enables the country to generate almost 70 percent of the game's revenues. International news organisations, including Agence France-Presse, have suspended their on-field coverage of matches hosted by the BCCI since last year after the board imposed restrictions on picture agencies.
THE NEW GUARD
N Srinivasan has had the last laugh over his detractors as he was elected unopposed as the BCCI president for a third year at its Annual General Meeting in Chennai on Sunday, although he won't be able to discharge his functions due to a Supreme Court directive. Srinivasan, whose two-year regular tenure comes to an end this month, was supported by all the six South zone associations, thus taking out the possibility of a contest for the top post.
Sanjay Patel has been named secretary, while Anirudh Chaudhury is set to take over as treasurer. Rajiv Shukla (Central Zone), Ravi Savant (West Zone) and SP Bansal (North Zone) are the new vice-presidents, replacing Sudhir Dabir, Niranjan Shah and Arun Jaitley respectively. Shivlal Yadav (South Zone) and Chitrak Mitra (East Zone) will continue as vice-presidents.
Orissa Cricket Association President Ranjib Biswal has been named the IPL chairman. TC Mathew of the Kerala Cricket Association will replace Biswal as the chairman of the National Cricket Academy.
Andhra's G Ganga Raju to head the BCCI's finance committee, replacing Jyotiraditya Scindia. Rajiv Shukla replaces Arun Jaitley as the head of the tour, programme and fixture committee. Farooq Abdullah has been replaced as the head of the marketing committee by Jharkhand's Amitabh Choudhary.
Connor Williams will be the chairman of the junior selection committee. The former Baroda batsman replaces Chandrakant Pandit. Vinod Phadke replaces CP Joshi as head of the media committee.
Jagmohan Dalmiya will head the newly formed North-East development committee. Currently, there are two Ranji teams from that region: Assam and Tripura.
BISWAL PIPS VISHY AND DALMIYA
Former national selector Ranjib Biswal was on Sunday appointed the new chairman of the lucrative IPL at the Annual General Meeting of the BCCI in Chennai.
Biswal has been a long-time loyalist of president N Srinivasan, who was re-elected at the meeting for a third year in office.
Biswal, who is from Odisha, will be replacing Rajeev Shukla as the IPL chairman. Shukla had resigned as the IPL chairman after the spot-fixing and the betting scandal broke out in May.
Biswal has also been a team manager on numerous tours and apparently he pipped Gundappa Viswanath and interim board chief Jagmohan Dalmiya to the post.
Biswal was currently National Cricket Academy chairman and Kerala's TC Mathew will now replace him in that post.
Biswal played first-class cricket for Orissa between 1987 and 1996 as an all-rounder. He has 2,170 runs in his career and has taken 153 wickets and had also captained the U-19 team in 1989.
SRINIVASAN CAN'T TAKE CAKE CHARGE
Srinivasan was the lone Presidential candidate put forward by the South Zone, from where he got the proposer and the seconder. While the Goa Cricket Association and the Andhra Cricket Association were initially reluctant to support Srinivasan, he and his aides used their persuasive skills to get them on board.
Srinivasan, will however have to wait till Monday, to know if he can resume his duties as the Supreme Court gives its final verdict on the case filed by Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) secretary Aditya Verma.
Also See: How Srinivasan rode the storm
On Friday, the apex court bench headed by Justice AK Patnaik said that in case Srinivasan gets re-elected, he will not take charge till the court decides on a petition by the CAB, which is not recognised by the BCCI.
The court directed the matter be listed for September 30.
"NOBODY HAS STOPPED ME"
Srinivasan, had on Friday itself reiterated his desire to contest the election. "Nobody has stopped me from contesting elections and attending the AGM. Before taking my comments, kindly go through the observations made by the honorable Supreme Court. It states clearly that I have not been stopped from attending the AGM and I am also going to contest the election, why shall I not contest the elections?," he said.
Verma had on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking to restrain Srinivasan from getting re-elected as the president of the BCCI on the ground that his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan is facing probe on the allegations of spot fixing and betting.
Verma, in his application, also sought to restrain the BCCI from inducting Srinivasan in any of its committees as a member or allow him to participate in any of the proceedings in any capacity.
The pressure had been mounting on Srinivasan not to seek a third year as BCCI chief in view of Meiyappan being charged by Mumbai police in the Indian Premier League betting scandal, but he was adamant on seeking re-election.
Also See: Srinivasan and Controversies
Meiyappan, who is the principal of IPL side Chennai Super Kings, owned by Srinivasan's company India Cements, has been named in the 11,500-page charge sheet along with Bollywood actor Vindoo Dara Singh.
Srinivasan has distanced himself from Meiyappan, who was among the 22 people formally charge by the investigators.
SRINIVASAN STAYED IN CONTROL
It is expected that Sanjay Patel will have to sign all the necessary documents till the apex court allows Srinivasan to resume charge.
Srinivasan had temporarily stepped aside as president in June when he handed interim charge to Jagmohan Dalmiya, a former head of the International Cricket Council.
However, he has continued to pull the strings behind the scene and ensured on Wednesday that his bete noire, IPL founder Lalit Modi, was banned for life from the sport. (With agency inputs)
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