Photographs: Arko Datta/Reuters
The Board of Control for Cricket in India’s all-powerful Working Committee is to meet in Mumbai on Sunday afternoon at its headquarters to find a pathway to satisfy the latest directive of the Supreme Court in the case related to corruption in last year's Indian Premier League.
The apex court, while turning down N Srinivasan's fresh plea to return to the helm of the Board's affairs as its elected chief, has ruled that he cannot be given back the BCCI's reins till he comes out clean in a probe conducted against him and 12 others, including India-capped cricketers, whose names have been mentioned by Justice Mudgal Committee report in the IPL corruption scandal.
The apex court also put the ball back in the BCCI's court for future course of action to probe the damning contents of the Mudgal Committee report on its own through appropriate means.
On April 16 the Supreme Court had said the BCCI should conduct a probe against Srinivasan and 12 others in the betting and spot fixing scandal to maintain its institutional autonomy as the court cannot "close its eyes" to the allegations made by the Justice Mukul Mudgal committee.
A bench of justices A K Patnaik and F M Ibrahim Kalifulla, however, had expressed reservations over a SIT or CBI probe, saying that institutional autonomy of the Board has to be maintained and a committee constituted by the BCCI to look into the issue would be preferred.
"Having come to know the nature of allegations, we cannot close our eyes," the bench said, adding that it is concerned about the game of cricket in the country and not about individuals.
Referring to a sealed envelope report of Justice Mudgal committee, the bench said, "It (report) said all these allegations were brought to his (Srinivasan) notice but he did not take any action. That means he was aware about the allegations and did not take it seriously."
The Emergent WC meeting, to be held two days before the next hearing of the case in the apex court, has been convened following demand from some state units affiliated to the Board after the Supreme Court's hearing.
'I don't know whether Gavaskar he will be attending the meeting'
Some Board bigwigs, including secretary Sanjay Patel, are currently in the UAE watching the first phase of IPL 7 but are set to return in time to attend the crucial meeting scheduled at its headquarters - Cricket Centre – in Mumbai.
Shivlal Yadav, the former India Test off spinner who is the Supreme Court-appointed interim president of BCCI for non-IPL related matters, will chair the meeting.
The future course of action of BCCI in the wake of whatever had transpired in the SC hearing on April 16 concerning allegations of spot-fixing and betting in IPL, is the important item on agenda, 57-year-old Yadav had told PTI.
With another damning statement by its immediate past president Shashank Manohar that the Board lacked leaders to take on Srinivasan, and another former president Jagmohan Dalmiya's observation that the BCCI's image has been sullied, indications are that a new panel satisfying the apex court would be formed to conduct a deeper probe into the Mudgal Committee's findings.
The BCCI website indicated Sunil Gavaskar, the Supreme Court-appointed interim president for IPL-related matters, as the chairman of Working Committee, but Yadav is not certain whether his former cricket skipper would attend the meet.
"I don't know whether he will be attending the meeting as he's in Dubai overseeing the organisation of IPL," said the Hyderabad-based Yadav.
Meanwhile, there have been demands from some quarters that Mahohar himself come back to head the Board's probe panel.
Aditya Verma, the unrecognised Cricket Association of Bihar chief who is the petitioner in the IPL case, has demanded that Manohar head the probe panel against the scam.
Those expected to attend the meeting are: Shivlal Yadav (Interim President), Sanjay Patel (Secretary), Anurag Thakur (Jt. Secretary), Anirudh Chaudhry (Treasurer), S P Bansal (Vice President, North), Chitrak Mitra (VP, East), Ravi Savant (VP, West), Rajeev Shukla (VP, Central), Representatives of Delhi & District Cricket Association, Tamil Nadu CA, Cricket Association of Bengal, Mumbai CA, Uttar Pradesh CA (all permanent Test centres), Haryana CA (North), Goa CA (South), National CC (East), The Cricket Club of India (West), Railway Sports Promotion Board (Central) (all by rotation), Karnataka State CA, Punjab CA, Gujarat CA, Vidarbha CA, and Hyderabad CA (Staged Test match in the last 2 years).