N Srinivasan’s rise to power is a story of ambition and compromise. It was the combination of Srinivasan, Sharad Pawar and Lalit Modi that is charged with ousting Jagmohan Dalmiya. When Pawar’s lobby toppled Dalmiya in 2005, in gratitude, Pawar made Srinivasan the BCCI treasurer. But the southern magnate was far from satisfied. His stature within the body grew and his proximity with the new BCCI boss Shashank Manohar ensured that he got the covetous secretary’s job in 2008. By then, Pawar was making his displeasure with Srinivasan clear.
Tweak and wreak: Meanwhile, Srinivasan, upon the conclusion of his eight-year term as TNCA president, tweaked the paragraph in the TNCA constitution, which increased the maximum tenure to eight years. Thereafter, Muttiah filed a stack of cases against Srinivasan, on various grounds, ranging from constitutional breach to conflict of interest, but to no avail. In 2011, he was elected the BCCI supremo with support from not only the South Zone teams of Tamil Nadu, Hyderabad and Kerala but also from Saurashtra, Odisha and Jharkhand. Srinivasan is no stranger to the art of tweaking: he tweaked the BCCI constitution in 2008. Since no administrator could have any direct or indirect commercial interest in BCCI events, he amended the relevant section to suit his need. It now reads: “No administrator shall have, directly or indirectly, any commercial interest in any of the events of the BCCI, excluding IPL, Champions League and Twenty20.” Before the IPL took off, a far-seeing Srinivasan orchestrated moves that would simultaneously make him BCCI secretary and then president as well as IPL team owner. He is also the head of the IPL’s governing council and any investigation of CSK’s wrong doings will be in effect “Srini” investigating himself. His critics even accuse him of getting specific umpires for CSK’s matches, did horse trading in the TNCA elections and inducted the ‘life-term’ presidentship clause in the state body’s constitution.
Luxury and politics: N Srinivasan and his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan have one thing in common—a love for luxury. Meiyappan’s yacht, often found docked at Chennai harbour, has been the venue of many parties with CSK captain M S Dhoni and his wife Sakshi taking joy rides on it. The BCCI boss loves fast cars. The 68-year-old businessman is a second generation tycoon reportedly worth around `1,301 crore. His arrogance has reportedly earned him many foes in among Chennai’s top industrialists who see him as unethical. However, the Marans have been his staunch supporters and it was during DMK rule that India Cements pulled out of the red. He also increased the number of seats in the M A Chidambaram Stadium at will, which were shut down by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. Srinivasan’s political links are not confined only to his home state of Tamil Nadu. He is no stranger to scandalous controversies. The CBI would like to talk to him in connection with investigations against Jaganmohan Reddy, former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Rajsekhar Reddy’s son. India Cements, that Srinivasan inherited from his father T S Narayanaswami, has seven manufacturing units spread across Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh now. It was one of the 11 companies found guilty of cartelisation of cement by the Competition Commission of India in June 2012. Even the BCCI was slapped a fine of Rs 52.24 crore by the same commission in February. His corporate critics allege that his business manoeuvring led to the divestment of shares held by industrialists N Shankar and N Kumar of the Chemplast group, whose grandfather S N N Sankaralinga Iyer was a co-founder of India Cements. Shankar, who was the chairman of India Cements for a long time, stepped down subsequently, leaving the post that remains vacant even today as Srinivasan does not want to be called chairman.
The man who is always seen sporting a red tilak on his forehead is said to be a religious and superstitious man. Despite being the prime stakeholder after buying over the shares of his brother N Ramachandran, Srinivasan continues to remain as vice-president and managing director India Cements. Industry sources attribute this to being advised to do so by his personal astrologer. It will be seen if god bails him out of this one.