Srinivasan to step aside, not step down as BCCI chief

Chennai, June 2 (IANS) The members of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Sunday took refuge under its constitution to let president Narayanaswamy Srinivasan step aside and not step down and as an interim arrangement asked former board chief Jagmohan Dalmiya to take care of the day-to-day affairs of the board.

After all the hyped-up media pressure, the outcome of the emergency meeting of the BCCI working committee is seen more as a victory for Srinivasan and in his own words "no one challenged me and it was a smooth meeting".

At least one member emerging from the meeting, former board chief Inderjit Singh Bindra, stated that he had demanded Srinivasan should step down, not step aside.

"I fought tooth and nail to get Srinivasan to resign whereas no one in the meeting spoke up," Bindra told IANS.

Bindra said he had opposed the appointment of an "interim president" as there was no provision in the board's constitution for such a post and thus it was said that Dalmiya would only look after the day-to-day affairs.

"I questioned the legality of 'interim president' as the BCCI constitution does not permit this. Srinivasan said in the meeting that there is no such thing as an interim president and said he would continue to rubber stamp all BCCI's decisions," Bindra told reporters.

"I wanted him to resign categorically, but no one had the guts to speak out, there were only whispers."

Ajay Shirke, who resigned as BCCI treasurer Friday along with secretary Sanjay Jagdale, echoed Bindra's sentiments in an interview to a TV channel.

Srinivasan, however, was categorical in telling NDTV that Bindra had not asked for his resignation in the meeting.

Stating that he has not done anything wrong nor are there any charges against him, Srinivasan said: "My decision to step aside was well received and the meeting was smooth without any acrimony."

Making a specific reference to the social media going ballistic about his resignation, the board chief said: "I cannot respond to the expectations of the people. I took an extraordinary stand to step aside till the probe is over."

Bindra said the whole show appeared to have been stage-managed by Srinivasan and what he called the "Delhi Group" without naming board vice-presidents Arun Jaitley and Rajeev Shukla and BCCI joint secretary Anurag Thakur, who preferred to take part in the proceedings through tele-conferencing from a five-star hotel in Delhi.

Jaitley is believed to have proposed Dalmiya's name for managing the board's affairs in the absence of Srinivasan.

Jaitley also opposed the suggestion that Srinivasan should stay out till the investigation into the IPL spot fixing scam is over, and instead favoured his waiting only till the findings of the board panel are made public.

Significantly, Dalmiya was among the first to reach Chennai Saturday while most others arrived Sunday.

The BCCI in a statement said Srinivasan would not discharge his duties as president till the board's probe into spot-fixing by his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan is complete.

"Srinivasan announced he will not discharge his duties as president of the board till such time that the probe is completed," BCCI said.

"Till that time, Dalmiya will conduct the day-to-day affairs of the board," BCCI joint secretary Anurag Thakur said in a statement.

BCCI also requested Jagdale and Shirke to reconsider their stand.

"The (working) committee expressed full confidence in Jagdale and Shirke and requested them to withdraw their resignations in the larger interest of the board," added the statement.

Srinivasan also said Jagdale and Shirke have been asked to return.

"All of us requested Jagdale and Shirke to continue so that there is continuity. They said they will come back tomorrow (Monday). Shirke is my best friend. Not a single person in the meeting challenged the decision," added Srinivasan.

Media started mounting relentless pressure on Srinivasan to step down soon after Meiyappan was arrested May 24 for his alleged involvement in betting on IPL matches as chief executive of Chennai Super Kings.