N Srinivasan’s desperate bid to return as BCCI president was thwarted with the under-fire Board deciding to call off its Working Committee meeting in New Delhi on Friday fearing legal trouble after the Bombay High Court declared its IPL spot-fixing probe “illegal and unconstitutional”. Jagmohan Dalmiya, who was named the interim chief after Srinivasan had stepped aside pending an internal inquiry into the IPL spot-fixing scandal, will continue in the position for the time being.
The decision to call off the Working Committee meeting was taken after a series of discussions among the top brass of the BCCI and amid fears of a revolt against the Tamil Nadu strongman if he tried to make a comeback under the circumstances.
The BCCI, it is learnt, will also appeal in the Supreme Court against the Bombay High Court order, which had declared the Board’s IPL spot-fixing and betting probe “illegal and unconstitutional” a few days ago.
The BCCI sources said that it took intense persuasion from Board vice-president Arun Jaitley, also a legal luminary, Dalmiya and IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla for Srinivasan to back down from his adamant stand.
The BCCI also feared more legal complications if Srinivasan returned to the top post and chaired the Working Committee meeting since the probe, which cleared his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, had been declared illegal by the court.
Srinivasan was told that his return as BCCI president could lead to a wave of Public Interest Litigations across the country, creating more embarrassment for the Board.
It is also learnt that two vice-Presidents and some other top officials were threatening to resign if Srinivasan chaired the meeting.
Srinivasan was apparently unhappy with this possibility but after consultation with his legal team arrived at a conclusion that it’s better to call off the meeting.
The other “major technical flaw” regarding this meeting was not having the word emergency mentioned when the working committee members were summoned for the meeting.
“The meeting itself is technically invalid as one needed to mention the word emergency if one calls for a working committee meeting 72 hours within the last meeting,” said a BCCI official.
No official word has still come from the BCCI about the day’s developments.
The IPL spot-fixing scandal broke out when India pacer S Sreesanth, along with two other Rajasthan Royals players Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan and 11 bookies, was arrested for alleged spot-fixing in the IPL.
The contracts of the tainted players were terminated by their franchise, which also lodged a criminal complaint against them.
It snowballed into a crisis for the BCCI when Srinivasan’s son-in-law and Chennai Super Kings Team Principal Meiyappan was arrested on charges of betting on May 26.
An internal probe panel, originally comprising two retired judges and the then BCCI Secretary Sanjay Jagdale, was constituted on May 28 to investigate the allegations against Meiyappan, who maintained his innocence after getting bail.
Srinivasan, who owns the CSK franchise, remained defiant through the turmoil and refused to resign but had to step aside as BCCI President after a stormy emergent Board meeting on June 2 where Dalmiya took charge of an interim arrangement to run the Board’s affairs pending the inquiry.
The upheaval led to the resignations of Board Secretary Sanjay Jagdale and Treasurer Ajay Shirke, who asked for Srinivasan’s resignation on moral grounds.