Friday, March 24, 2023

SC asks Srinivasan to address conflict of interest


New Delhi, Nov 24 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday asked if sidelined BCCI president N. Srinivasan was not in a position of conflict while being the head of cricket’s governing body in the country and also holding a franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Srinivasan is the Managing Director of the India Cements which is the owner of the IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings.

“You are a person who is managing the show (BCCI). You are also having a team competing in IPL. Would it not be a conflict of interest,” said the apex court bench of Justice T.S.Thakur and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla. The court said this while observing that the IPL was BCCI’s creation.

Asked to explain the situation arising from the question of conflict of interest of Srinivasan, senior counsel Kapil Sibal, appearing for the BCCI President, told the court that my interest is that “My team must win”.

In further posers to Sibal, the court asked “Who constitutes the BCCI. BCCI is headed by the president (now Srinivasan). Do you mean to say that when decisions are taken by the BCCI, President Srinivasan is a mute spectator and expresses no views?”

Senior counsel C.A. Sundram, representing the BCCI, said that the apex cricketing body’s working committee had representatives of 21 state level cricketing bodies and each one of them was eminent in his own right. Sundram said that IPL was played in a match format. It is a creation of BCCI and is its byproduct.

Justifying Srinivasan’s India Cements owning an IPL franchise CSK, Sundram said that “IPL when started was a commercial success.”

He said lot of people’s lives depend on the earnings from it so it should not be blocked.

Sundaram said that cricket in India has got an international recognition and the court should keep it in mind.

“This recognition comes from where?”, the court asked Sundaram back, adding that it comes from “over a lakh people sitting in Eden Gardens and watching the match”.

“So it becomes a mutual beneficial society. This game is a religion. Millions and millions of people are very passionate about it without any stakes or betting”, Justice Thakur said pointing to an obvious inference.

“If we allow what is happening then the game will be killed. What promotes the game is that it is played in true spirit of gentleman’s game”, the court said in reply to Sundaram’s defence.

“If the confidence of the people is shattered then the game (cricket) goes”, Justice Thakur observed asking the BCCI counsel if “If you are going to sit over the liquidation of the game.”

The court said that “the benefit of the game should go to the game and not to an individual.”

The court said this in the course of the hearing on the Mudgal Committee report which has while exonerating Srinivasan of any betting or match-fixing or scuttling probe into the allegations of batting and match-fixing in IPL 2013, has indicted his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan of betting.

The court has also recorded some findings about Raj Kundra the co-owner of IPL franchise Rajasthan Royal.

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