N. Srinivasan on Sunday agreed to “step aside” as BCCI president under a compromise formula that brought back former chief Jagmohan Dalmiya as head of a four-member “interim arrangement” to run the Board, more than a fortnight after the spot-fixing scandal rocked cricketing world.
In a decision in which the pro-Sharad Pawar group appeared to have suffered a dent, the Working Committee of the Board decided that Mr. Dalmiya will conduct its day-to-day affairs after Mr. Srinivasan announced that he will not discharge his duties as the president till such time the probe is completed.
Sources said that key members including Arun Jaitley, Rajeev Shukla and Anurag Thakur appeared to have tilted the scales in favour of Mr. Dalmiya and softened the blow on Mr. Srinivasan.
While the Pawar group may have wanted former chief Shashank Manohar in Mr. Dalmiya’s place, it could also not ensure that Mr. Srinivasan resigned.
73-year-old Mr. Dalmiya will appoint a new member on the three-member inquiry commission in place of Sanjay Jagdale that will go into the allegations of betting and spot-fixing against Mr. Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan.
24 members of the Board attended the meeting in which there was no demand made for his resignation, Mr. Srinivasan said though Punjab Cricket Association chief I.S. Bindra claimed that he did. Two senior members of the Working Committee also said that the word resignation was not used at the meeting.
The meeting also urged Secretary Jagdale and Treasurer Ajay Shirke, who have resigned from the posts a couple of days ago, to rethink their decision and get back to the Board in 24 hours.
However, both of them said after the meeting that they have decided not to withdraw their resignations.
‘None of the members demanded his resignation’
Contrary to widespread perception that Mr. Srinivasan could be shown the door, none of those who attended the BCCI Working Committee meeting demanded his resignation though Mr. Bindra claimed he did.
A senior office-bearer of the BCCI categorically stated, “None of the members of the BCCI demanded resignation from Mr. Srinivasan and he has been assured that he can resume functioning if he is cleared by the inquiry commission.”
Following is the timeline of the sequence of events that has happened at the Chennai meeting on Sunday afternoon.
-> Mr. Srinivasan gives a resume of issues including domestic and pending issues with ICC. He then streamlines two incidents involving three players allegedly involved in spot-fixing and the Gurunath Meiyappan issue.
-> Mr. Srinivasan then intimates the WC that Sanjay Jagdale and Ajay Shirke are special invitees for the meeting.
-> Mr. Srinivasan intimates about the resignation tendered by the duo and declares that the resignations as “unacceptable.”
-> Senior vice-president Arun Jaitley then expresses his concern about the credibility of the Board being affected due to three players and Mr. Meiyappan.
-> Mr. Jaitley tells Mr. Srinivasan to “step aside till the pendency of inquiry and not discharge any presidential functions for a free and fair probe”.
-> Mr. Srinivasan agrees to Mr. Jaitley’s proposal to step aside pending inquiry.
-> Mr. Jaitley informs the WC that he told Mr. Srinivasan to step aside in Kolkata last Sunday and Mr. Srinivasan agreed that he was indeed asked by senior BJP leader.
-> WC then unanimously asks Mr. Jagdale and Mr. Shirke to reconsider their decision and gives them 24 hours to change their mind. Both had refused to come back into the fold.
-> Mr. Srinivasan tells jokingly that Mr. Shirke is my “golf partner and we are best of buddies”.
-> One by one, Mr. Dalmiya, Ravi Savant (MCA), Anil Kumble (KSCA), Ganga Raju (Andhra CA) , Niranjan Shah (VP), Sudhir Dabir (VP) air their views.
-> Mr. Bindra questions validity of the meeting as it has been called in just one day. Mr. Shukla counters saying that this meeting can be ratified by the next WC meeting on a back date as the issue is of paramount importance.
-> Members request Mr. Jaitley to take over as interim president but the senior politician refuses citing busy political commitments.
-> Mr. Jaitley then proposes names of Shashank Manohar and Mr. Dalmiya as two candidates who should be the leader of the “Interim Arrangement” till the probe is over.
-> Mr. Srinivasan is intimated that he can come back as president if he is cleared in the probe.
-> Mr. Manohar’s name doesn’t find acceptability and then Mr. Jaitley and Mr. Thakur propose Mr. Dalmiya’s name which Mr. Srinivasan finds acceptable.
-> In the end it is unanimously agreed by members that Mr. Srinivasan will “Step Aside” and not “Resign” as none of the 23 others demanded so.
-> Mr. Dalmiya agrees to be the head of the interim arrangement.
-> Mr. Bindra counter-questions that how will Mr. Dalmiya function without a specific post and take day-to-day decisions.
-> Mr. Shukla then proposes that Mr. Dalmiya and his team will seek WC’s approval every fortnight in order to clear the decks for smooth functioning. Members agree unanimously.
-> WC committee then gives Mr. Dalmiya the power to appoint the third member of the probe panel replacing Jagdale as the two retired judges will remain in the panel.
-> Mr. Bindra questions who appointed the three-member panel to enquire into activities of Mr. Meiyappan.
-> Prof. Ratnakar Shetty answers that it was the IPL secretariat (not the GC) that appointed the panel. IPL secretariat is comprised of CEO Sundar Raman and Peter Griffith.
-> Mr. Bindra asks that did anyone from ICC’s Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) tip off BCCI about Mr. Meiyappan.
-> It is learnt that none of the BCCI office-bearers could confirm that they got a call from BCCI ACSU about Mr. Meiyappan.
-> The meeting ends with the Mr. Thakur preparing a press note which clearly states that Mr. Srinivasan merely stepped aside and did not resign.