Stressing that it was acting in the interest of cricket lovers in India, the Supreme Court Friday allowed this year’s IPL tournament to be held with the participation of all eight teams — including Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, the two linked to the alleged corruption scandal — but shunted out BCCI president N Srinivasan from all affairs of the board. (Also Read: Dhoni didn’t lie, says BCCI)
A bench of Justices A K Patnaik and F M I Kalifulla replaced Srinivasan with former Indian skipper Sunil Gavaskar as the interim president for managing the affairs of the seventh edition of the IPL, starting April 16 in the UAE, until the court delivers its judgement in the IPL betting and spot-fixing case.
Functions of the president involving other board affairs would be discharged by the most senior vice president, Shivlal Yadav.
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“We also direct that till we deliver the judgment, none of the employees of India Cements Ltd or its associate companies (except for cricket players or commentators) will perform any of the duties assigned to them by the BCCI and the interim president, Sunil Gavaskar, will have power to engage the services of such persons on whom he has confidence for work in connection with the IPL 2014,” the bench said.
Srinivasan is the managing director of India Cements that owns CSK.
His son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan had been indicted for betting in IPL 2013 by the SC-appointed probe panel, prompting the bench to give Srinivasan an ultimatum to step down or risk being removed.
However, as Srinivasan volunteered to step aside, the bench moved to replace him with Gavaskar and Yadav.
On the issue of continuance of chief IPL operator Sundar Raman despite corruption charges against him, the bench left it to Gavaskar to decide whether he could continue.
The bench, which had Thursday proposed that IPL-7 can be allowed if CSK and RR were prohibited from participating in view of the corruption charges, had a change of heart Friday.
“We are not going to stop any team from playing in the IPL. We are not going to stop any player from playing as well. We will say IPL will go on as scheduled in the interest of cricket lovers in India,” the bench said.
The court said it was passing orders “to ensure that all those who love cricket continue to watch cricket in IPL 2014 and the matches are played by the players in accordance with the IPL rules”.
The court also said it was not going to express “any prima facie opinion” against Srinivasan for his removal as BCCI president at this stage and set the next hearing on April 16.
The remark came as the BCCI pleaded the court to go soft on Srinivasan to ensure that his prospect of taking over as the ICC president in July is not dented. “We don’t want a situation where this order by the court could be used by some other country to create problems,” said BCCI counsel C A Sundaram.
Following a dressing down by the court Tuesday, Srinivasan had expressed his willingness to step aside and not function as the BCCI chief until a probe into the IPL corruption saga was on. He pressed for a time-bound probe.
While noting his proposal, the bench had Thursday said that for the time being it will not pass any order on his removal but it would definitely lay down conditions for IPL-7 to go on in the wake of incriminating findings by the Mudgal panel appointed by the court.