The Supreme Court on Thursday suggested that the present President-in-exile N. Srinivasan and his team should step down and not contest elections for the BCCI.
The court made it clear to the BCCI that if it wanted to take action as per the Mudgal panel report, only the new Board could do so. Otherwise, the Mudgal panel itself could be asked to suggest what punishment it could impose on those found guilty based on its own findings.
Giving the two options, a Bench of Justices T.S. Thakur and Ibrahim Kalifulla, told Senior counsel Aryama Sundaram, appearing for the BCCI: “Let there be a fresh blood in the BCCI and let the new body decide on what action to be taken on the basis of Justice Mukul Mudgal committee’s report.”
The bench was responding to Mr. Sundaram’s submissions that the disciplinary committee of the Board would take whatever action that was necessary, pursuant to the Mudgal panel’s report.
Earlier, senior counsel Nalini Chidambaram, appearing for the Cricket Association of Bihar submitted that Mr. Srinivasan was as guilty of his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan as per the BCCI Rules and the Anti Corruption Code for IPL. She said Mr. Srinivasan should be prevented from contesting the elections and his franchise Chennai Super Kings should be suspended. She said the findings of the Mudgal panel should be taken to its logical conclusion.
At this juncture, Justice Thakur asked Mr. Sundaram as to what action could be taken on the basis of the Mudgal report. When counsel replied that the punishment varied from suspension, termination, expulsion, reprimand and fine, Justice Thakur wondered whether the same persons in the Board, which was now on an extended tenure could be asked to take action.
“ Let there be a fresh blood in the BCCI and let the new body decide on what action to be taken on the basis of Justice Mukul Mudgal committee’s report. ”
Justice Thakur told the counsel “let all these people including Mr. Srinivasan step aside. Let them not stand for the elections. Let fresh blood in the Board decide on what action to be taken. The new Board is expected to act fairly.”
Justice Thakur said “we won’t say it is a happy situation but your term has ended and you continue due to fortuitous circumstances. But you still say the same Board will take action on the committee’s report including the question of disqualification of Chennai Super Kings.”
When Mr. Sundaram said the court could pass appropriate orders and there could be an external commission, Justice Thakur said “if we pass an order then we will be clutching at the functions of the Board. We will ask the Mudgal committee to go into the question of punishment.”
She alleged that India Cements had tried to cover up the acts of Gurunath Meiyappan and his role by giving misleading reply to the Committee. She said “the said act clearly tantamounts to a cover up.” In view of the findings of the committee, the franchisee of CSK was required to be terminated forthwith, she said.
Senior counsel Harish Salve, supplementing Ms. Chidambaram said higher standards of discipline and institutional integrity should be applied by Mr. Srinivasan. Counsel asked “should Mr. Srinivasan not take moral responsibility for the acts of his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan. He said “as per the rules even if a `guest’ makes a mistake, the responsibility would fall on the team owner.
When Justice Thakur asked Mr. Salve “what is the consequence if CSK is disqualified”, Mr. Salve said “Mr. Srinivasan, who is having conflict of interest will face a ban which may even extend to a life ban.” Arguments will continue on December 1, when BCCI, Mr. Srinivasan and others will reply.