Indian SC bars N Srinivasan from contesting BCCI polls

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has finally pronounced its much-awaited verdict on N Srinivasan’s conflict of interest case, saying that BCCI functions are amenable to judicial review.

Reacting to the Supreme Court’s verdict that N Srinivasan can’t contest BCCI polls till he gives up commercial interest in CSK, former BCCI chief Sharad Pawar said, “I am happy that Srinivasan is out.”
Former BCCI chief AC Muthiah said, “Srinivasan got a bit cocky, he thought nobody could bring him down. He must be angry with judgement. Srinivasan should honorably exit the board and let BCCI function.”

A bench of Justices TS Thakur and FMI Kalifulla, which heard the counsel for BCCI and Srinivasan on one side and rival Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) on the other, had on December 17 reserved its verdict on Srinivasan’s re-election plea but had indicated that the judgment could formulate accountability standards for ill-managed sports bodies to eliminate nepotism and conflict of interest.
The deeper scrutiny of incidents relating to IPL betting and spot-fixing scam by the bench had led to a debate on ‘conflict of interest’ within BCCI headed by Srinivasan, who as managing director of India Cements owns the IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings.
One of the moot points of adjudication which had emerged during the arguments was the amendment to BCCI Rules in 2008 allowing board officials to have commercial interest in IPL matches.
Appearing for Srinivasan, senior advocate Kapil Sibal had challenged petitioner CAB and its secretary Aditya Verma to give a single instance where Srinivasan had acted in conflict of interest and caused loss to the board while favouring himself or his team.
The bench had pointed to a decision by the IPL governing council, whose meeting was attended by Srinivasan, to compensate Rs 13 crore to CSK for an abandoned Champions League match.
“How could you have decided your case? The fact that the money was returned by CSK made no difference to the conflict of interest on your part when the decision was taken,” the bench had said.

Sibal made amends and said, “Apart from that single incident, there has been no other allegation in the last eight years.” The petition by CAB had led to a huge debate over the management of IPL and BCCI.
The court-appointed Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee, also comprising senior advocates L Nageswar Rao and Nilay Dutta, had found Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan guilty of indulging in betting during IPL 2013 despite being a CSK team official.
Though the committee had cleared Srinivasan of betting or any wrongdoing, it had raised serious questions regarding possible conflict of interest.

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