“I will not discharge my duty till the probe is completed. In the meanwhile... the Board asked Mr. Dalmiya to take care of the things”

N. Srinivasan ‘stepped aside’ temporarily as president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India at an emergency working committee meeting here on Sunday.

The meeting, largely brought about by events surrounding Twenty20 cricket, lasted less than the duration of the shortest form of the game and left those seeking Mr. Srinivasan’s resignation disappointed.

Punjab Cricket Association president I.S. Bindra, who attended the three-hour meeting, said, “Cricket fans of the country have been let down. This is a sad day for cricket.”

Mr. Srinivasan said he had taken this “extraordinarily fair step” in the interests of a clean probe and that his “suggestion was accepted by everyone.” He added, “Nobody asked me to resign.”

The former BCCI and ICC chief, Jagmohan Dalmiya, will be in charge of the Board’s ‘working group’ looking into day-to-day affairs until the three-member panel, including two retired High Court judges, submits its report on the alleged betting indulged in by Mr. Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan and the role of franchises Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals in the just-concluded Indian Premier League. If Mr. Srinivasan’s name is cleared, he will return as Board chief.

Mr. Dalmiya said after the meeting, “Mr. Srinivasan continues to be the president. He has not resigned and only stepped aside. My role has no nomenclature but I will be doing the job of the acting president.”

Mr. Dalmiya said he would focus on “cleaning up cricket in a limited time frame.” He added, “This is an extraordinary period for the game and we all love the game.”

There were conflicting views about the meeting. While there were reports of heated exchanges, Mr. Srinivasan himself said the proceedings were smooth.

Mr. Dalmiya’s name was proposed by vice-president Arun Jaitley, who participated through videoconference, and seconded by Mr. Srinivasan. The former BCCI president Shashank Manohar’s name was also thrown up by Mr. Jaitley but Mr. Srinivasan preferred someone who is a member of the Board at present.

Although Ajay Shirke, who resigned as BCCI treasurer on Friday, reportedly expressed his displeasure at the meeting, Mr. Bindra said, “I was the only one to ask for the president’s resignation. I thought some others were afraid to speak out. They lacked guts and it was disappointing.”

Mr. Bindra also revealed he questioned the legality of the working committee meeting. “I said a notice period of three days was not given but was told by Mr. Jaitley that today’s [Sunday’s] decisions could be ratified by a working committee later.”

Mr. Shirke later said, “There is no such thing as an interim president. An interim president is not something that fits into the BCCI constitution.”

Jagdale, Shirke won’t return

Interestingly, a BCCI release said, “The committee expressed full confidence in Mr. Jagdale and Mr. Shirke and requested them to withdraw their resignations in the larger interest of the Board.” However, both of them have indicated that they would not return. It is to be seen who replaces Mr. Jagdale on the three-member probe panel.

The 73-year-old Dalmiya’s return to the higher echelons of the Board marks a remarkable comeback for a man who was expelled from the BCCI in 2006 for alleged financial irregularities. The charges could not be proved in court and Mr. Dalmiya came back to head the Cricket Association of Bengal. He, however, faces potentially difficult days ahead.