The Indian cricket board’s emergent working committee meeting in Chennai on Tuesday turned out to be uneventful. The opposition didn’t raise its voice, shifting the onus to the apex court instead. From a further postponement of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) to December 17 to defending IPL chief operating officer (COO) Sundar Raman, they followed the BCCI line, much to the relief of the board hierarchy.
“All matters are sub judice, so we should wait for the Supreme Court’s order,” Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) president Prakash Dixit, known to be a close Shashank Manohar aide, told The Indian Express. Dixit elaborated. “As for the AGM, the BCCI counsel appealed to the court for a postponement and the Supreme Court indirectly acceded to that. So we didn’t raise an objection and it had been agreed unanimously that the meeting would be held on December 17. For the sake of Indian cricket and BCCI, we decided not to disturb the process.”
In a press note, sent a few days ago, former BCCI president Manohar, however, had said the cricket board didn’t have the authority to postpone the AGM for a second time.
“Once the date of the AGM was fixed by the working committee, the same could not and cannot be altered by any office bearer of the board as they do not have authority to do so,” read the statement.
When contacted today, Manohar said: “I said whatever I had to say about the AGM. I stick to that. As for the other issues, I didn’t attend the meeting so can’t comment.”
The BCCI in a statement said: “The members noted the conclusions in the final report of the Mudgal committee and felt that there is no taint on the conduct of Mr Srinivasan and the allegations levelled against him by unscrupulous elements were baseless and were aimed at destabilising the working of the BCCI.”
In Raman’s case, the IPL COO has been prima facie indicted in the Justice Mudgal committee report for his alleged link with an unnamed contact of a bookmaker. “Sundar Raman’s issue is not an issue. Like all other people he should be allowed to present himself in the Supreme Court. We will wait for the court’s decision,” BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said after the meeting.
“We believe Sundar Raman is not guilty, which is the reason why we have decided to support him,” a top BCCI official said. Dixit, too, felt discretion would be the better part of valour.
“Sundar Raman clarified his position before the working committee. He said, he receives so many calls everyday that it’s not possible to keep a record. He also said he reported the matter to one or two ICC Anti-Corruption and Security Unit officials, which is mentioned in the report.”
But did he find Raman’s explanation convincing? “The next hearing is scheduled on November 24 and we would like to see how he represents himself before the Supreme Court. Once again, this is sub judice and we should wait for the apex court to come to a conclusion. Same is true for N Srinivasan and his reported inaction to a player’s code of conduct violation,” said Dixit.
Meanwhile, BCCI might institute an internal probe to find out whether any office bearer or member is funding petitioner Aditya Verma. “We discussed the issue on the sidelines. Some decision might be taken in due course,” said a board official.