NEW DELHI/CHENNAI: While raising a question on who should contest the BCCI elections, the Supreme Court on Monday said it’s difficult to accept N Srinivasan’s plea that there is no conflict of interest involving him as board president and owner of IPL team Chennai Super Kings (CSK). However, there was no verdict and both parties said they were expecting one when proceedings resume on Tuesday.
A Bench headed by Justice T S Thakur said conflict of interest is equal to bias and even likelihood of bias is important. “Taking all circumstances in account, it’s difficult to accept your contention that there is no conflict of interest. You being MD of India Cements, India Cements owning CSK, an official of CSK involved in betting and you heading the BCCI,” the Bench also comprising Justice F M I Kalifulla told Srinivasan’s lawyer Kapil Sibal. Replying to a suggestion by Sibal that BCCI be allowed to take action on the basis of Justice Mukul Mudgal’s report, the court said it should hold elections before doing that. The board’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) is slated for December 17 and if cleared by the court, Srinivasan is confident of getting re-elected. But the court asked without elaborating who should contest the elections. “BCCI must be free from any blemish if we allow it to decide. Who should be allowed to contest? Can a person indicted by the committee be allowed to contest?”
“We are not saying that there is a fraud in getting a franchise but once you become a team owner, then your interest in the team and as a cricket administrator pull you in opposite directions. You are a contractor (being CSK owner) and head of a contracting party (BCCI),” the Bench told Srinivasan.
The BCCI is waiting for answers. A delay may complicate matters before the AGM that has already been deferred since September. There have been talks on alternatives, but those in the know are refusing to comment until a verdict. “We’re expecting an interim order on Tuesday,” said Aditya Verma, who’s leading the fight against BCCI. “We may appeal for an interim order,” said a BCCI insider.