The excitement is infectious. From the extended queue in front of various counters handing the entry passes to mediapersons, who indulged in speculation — some incredibly wild — the atmosphere is electric.
Until you enter Court No. 5. Conversations, mainly in whispers, die the moment the bench of Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice Ibrahim Kalifulla settle. Senior officials from the BCCI have taken their seats. Some young lawyers stand in rapt attention as two seniors from their tribe present their arguments.
Aditya Verma, the petitioner, is tense. So is the team of lawyers representing the BCCI. “I am expecting cleansing of cricket administration,” Verma is optimistic. “Wait and watch,” mumbles a BCCI official.
The judges mean business. Time is precious, the lawyers are reminded. What will be the future of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals? The two teams, under the scanner, survive. The IPL, too.
The BCCI officials are beaming. “It is good for cricket. No doubt, it is a relief. The game is on a strong wicket in India,” says BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel.
Verma is guarded. “I am happy with what transpired today. N. Srinivasan being asked to step down is the first step in our fight to get rid of corruption in cricket. We have to watch [from April 16] when the case resumes.”
Verma and the BCCI lawyer [Aryama Sundaram] are the busiest men on the Supreme Court lawns, obliging the ever-hungry electronic media.