N. Srinivasan continues to be the cynosure of all eyes. His supporters want him to chair the Working Committee Meeting of the Board in Delhi on Friday.
His detractors are holding fire.
Some want to wait and watch the legal course that the Cricket Association of Bihar takes, while others want him to call the shots and captain the rocking ship that the Board has become from the time the spot-fixing scandal broke out in the previous edition of the Indian Premier League.
“Yes, I will attend the meeting,” confirmed Srinivasan. And rightly so, contend majority of the Board members. “He had stepped aside on moral grounds and has not been found guilty on any account,” countered a Board official when asked about the legality of his insistence on attending the meeting, as president of the Board or representative of Tamil Nadu Cricket Association.
“No one had asked him to step aside. It was his decision to step aside and it will be his decision as to when he wants to resume his duties. It is entirely his call,” the official added.
The Bombay High Court had observed that the two-member panel — comprising former High Court judges, who investigated the charges against alleged betting by Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan and Rajasthan Royals’ co-owner Raj Kundra — was not in keeping with the Board’s constitution.
A Board official observed, “The Board has not done anything illegal and the Bombay High Court has not cast any aspersions on the working of the panel. Which law has the BCCI violated? The panel was constituted after verbal discussions and acceptance among the members. The panel had the approval of the Working Committee.”
According to Board sources, Srinivasan continues to command power and attention in the Board.
“As far as the Board is concerned, Srinivasan was on leave and he now returns to his position of president. He was not bound to step aside as he did, but it was a gesture by him. He had stepped aside only for a limited period (till the probe panel reached a conclusion).”
Final and binding
The probe panel’s report, said a top Board official, was “final and binding,” which effectively clears the way for Srinivasan’s return. The official concluded, “He has stuck to his word by not discharging his duties as president. Now that there is nothing against him, I see no reason why Srinivasan can’t attend the meeting.”
Will be under scrutiny
Srinivasan, however, will be under scrutiny. The Cricket Association of Bihar officials, backed by former Union Minister Subodh Kant Sahai, have declared they will continue the fight depending upon Srinivasan’s response to the Mumbai High Court’s observations on the probe panel’s validity and authority.
“We appeal and warn Srinivasan not to attend the meeting,” said Sahai, who accused the Board of having reduced cricket to “business and not a game anymore.”