Senior advocate P.S. Raman, who accompanied B. Gurunath Meiyappan to Mumbai prior to his questioning and arrest by the Mumbai Crime Branch last week, has rejected the view that his role as the latter’s legal adviser was in conflict of interest with his involvement in cricket administration.
Mr. Raman is vice-president of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association.
Responding to reports that appeared in The Times of India on Saturday questioning his multiple roles as BCCI lawyer, TNCA vice-president and Mr. Meiyappan’s friend, Mr. Raman said in a statement emailed from Bali, where he is on a holiday, that the insinuation of conflict of interest was baseless.
“I am not engaged in this matter by the BCCI, and the TNCA is not connected with this issue at all,” he said. He was only engaged by advocates for a particular case. Seeking to clarify his role in accompanying Mr. Meiyappan to Mumbai, Mr. Raman said he was engaged on the afternoon of May 24 as senior counsel to advise Mr. Meiyappan through Ishwar Nankani, a Mumbai lawyer, who represented the client. His Mumbai visit by a private jet was organised by the client and he travelled with Mr. Meiyappan.
“Mr. Nankani was present at the airport on our arrival. I had a meeting with him and finished my consultation,” Mr. Raman said. He had no further role as Mr. Nankani engaged the services of Aabad Ponda, a Mumbai-based criminal lawyer, Mr. Raman said. Under Bar Council norms, designated senior advocates cannot accept briefs directly from clients but should be engaged by counsel representing them.
Mr. Raman said his family connection with the AVM group — Mr. Meiyappan, son-in-law of BCCI president N. Srinivasan, belongs to the AVM family of Chennai — and his position as an elected TNCA office-bearer had no bearing on the discharge of his professional obligations.
He had been involved with the TNCA as a cricketer since 1977 and as administrator since 2001. “Connecting all this is mischievous and misleading,” he said.
Mr. Raman suspected he was being targeted personally by the newspaper because he was appearing against the TOI group in a case before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board and the Delhi High Court, apparently a reference to the dispute between the Times Publishing House Ltd and Financial Times of London over the use of FT’s name in India.