HC says BCCI probe panel 'illegal', Srinivasan defiant

Written by Express news service | Kolkata, Mumba | Updated: Jul 31 2013, 03:17am hrs
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday held that the BCCIs two-member panel set up to probe the IPL spot-fixing case was illegal and unconstitutional. But the order is unlikely to come in the way of N Srinivasans return to the helm of affairs at the BCCI.

The court ruling comes just two days after the probe panel gave a clean chit to Gurunath Meiyappan, Srinivasans son-in-law and official of his company-owned franchise Chennai Super Kings, and Raj Kundra, co-owner of Rajasthan Royals.

Unfazed by the order, Srinivasan, who stepped aside as BCCI president following Meiyappans arrest, said, Yes, I will be attending the BCCI working committee meeting in New Delhi on August 2.

In Kolkata, BCCIs interim chief Jagmohan Dalmiya said he and his colleagues would hold a video conference on Wednesday to decide the future course of action. I dont have all the details yet and I dont know if it is a crisis or not. But this has certainly put us in an embarrassing situation, said Dalmiya.

But the majority opinion within the board was that the HC order hasnt quite changed the script. Srinivasan had said he would step aside till the internal probe was on. With the panels clean chit, he will be back. What the court order has just pointed out is a minor procedural irregularity. Srinivasan will be chairing the working committee meeting, said a senior member on condition of anonymity. He added that only BCCI members can decide who should be their chief.

But a few said the BCCI chief should remain on the sidelines. It is accepted that theres no charge against Srinivasan. But he stepped aside on moral grounds because his son-in-law was mentioned in the case. Now that the Bombay High Court has virtually made the BCCI-instituted probe commission null and void, it would be subversion of the moral and ethical codes if he comes back to power. Only if the order is overturned by the Supreme Court, should he return, said an official of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB).

The Cricket Association of Bihar, through its secretary Aditya Verma, had filed a petition in the Bombay High Court challenging the constitution of the probe panel comprising retired judges of the Madras High Court, T Jayaram Chouta and R Balasubramanian.

The petition contended that the proposal to appoint a probe panel was mooted by Srinivasan and the BCCI working committee had illegally and unlawfully approved the proposal instead of calling a special general body meeting to set up a disciplinary committee, as stated in the BCCIs rules and regulations.

The proceeding before the probe panel is an exercise in futility, an empty formality and its hands were tied and/ or its decision a forgone conclusion, the PIL stated.