New Delhi: Pressure mounted on N Srinivasan to quit as BCCI chief with three Vice Presidents joining former cricketers and administrators in asking him to respect the Supreme Court observation that he should step down for a fair probe into the IPL fixing scandal.
After going through the contents of a report filed in a sealed cover by apex court-appointed probe panel into the scandal, a bench headed by Justice A K Patnaik said there are “very very serious” allegations made in the report and unless the BCCI President steps down, no fair probe can be conducted.
The beleaguered Srinivasan now appeared isolated even within the Board as three of the five vice-presidents — Shivlal Yadav, Ravi Sawant and Chitrak Mitra — asking him to abide by what the Supreme Court observation.
“SC has given the order, nobody can challenge it. We have to accept it. Since the SC has given an order, there is no question of going back on it or giving an opinion on that. It has to be carried out in total and BCCI will have to follow whatever the Apex Court has given,” Yadav, a vice-president representing South Zone, said.
Asked if he was willing to do the duty, he said, “Absolutely, I am ready to accept any responsibility given to me.”
Another Vice-President Ravi Sawant, who is representing West Zone, asked Srinivasan to resign within the next two days, before the matter comes up before the apex court.
“Supreme Court is the highest authority. It the SC has said (Srinivasan must step down), nothing can be done. If the Supreme Court has said he should resign, then he should step down within these two days,” Sawant said.
“If there is a vacancy (in the post of BCCI president), the GBM of the BCCI will decide (who will occupy the vacant chair),” he added.
Vice-President from East Zone, Chitrak Mitra said that a full-fledged president will take over after Srinivasan steps down.
“The SC verdict said Srinivasan should step down for a proper investigation (into IPL fixing scandal). If he does not stepped down, the SC will pass an order to that effect on March 27. That’s all about it,” Mitra said.
“Since the term of South Zone (for BCCI presidency) is going on, most probably Shivlal will become the president. Last time also when Srinivasan could not attend the BCCI meeting due to his father’s demise, Shivlal presided over it,” Mitra said.
“This time, it will not be an acting president. Jagmohan Dalmiya was made acting president because at that time Srinivasan only stepped aside not stepped down. It’s different this time, Srinivasan has been told to step down.”
Former cricketers Mohinder Amarnath and Bishan Singh Bedi and ex-BCCI administrator and former Rajasthan Cricket Association President Kishore Rungta also called for Srinivasan’s stepping down.
Amarnath, a member of 1983 World Cup winning team, said that the “game was bigger than an individual” and Srinivasan should step down in the interest of Indian cricket.
“In the interest of the game, one should step aside and let the enquiry go on. As a lover of the game, he should step down. He should respect the law and he should honour what Supreme Court has suggested. Let’s see how it goes,” Amarnath said.
Bedi took to Twitter to express his opinion.
“BCCI touches lowest low-thx SC’ nudge ‘Srini must step dn’ & out of all matters crkting!What happens2all his cronies in bcci & icc?!Hail SC!,” he tweeted shortly after the court observation.
In his second tweet, Bedi wrote,”Justice MMudgal arrived on Indn crkt scene most providentially/aptly 2 clean up corrupted culture-any culture gd or bad stems frm top down!!”
Rungta was scathing in his criticism of Srinivasan, whose son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was found guilty of placing bets on his IPL team Chennai Super Kings.
“I am happy that Supreme Court has asked him to resign. This was absolute arrogance that he was continuing as President of the BCCI,” Rungta said.
“The conduct committee (earlier) had said no Board member would indulge directly or indirectly with the game (IPL team). An Exception was made for Srinivasan, which was wrong. I wish Supreme Court had taken a view at that time,” Rungta said.
Srinivasan had stepped aside in June 2013 after Meiyappan’s name had cropped up in the fixing scandal, which had to led to ban on paceman S Sreesanth and his two other Rajasthan Royals colleagues. In his absence, former BCCI chief Jagmohan Dalmiya discharged the duties of the President.
However, at the BCCI AGM in September 2013, Srinivasan was re-elected as President.
Supreme Court had appointed a three-member probe panel, led by retired judge Justice Mukul Mudgal to investigate into the fixing saga. The Apex court-appointed panel had replaced BCCI’s own two-man probe panel, which had exonerated Meiyappan of any wrongdoing and its verdict was challenged in the courts.
Former BCCI president Shashank Manohar said if he was in Srinivasan’s position, he would have relinquished his position long back.
“If you ask me I would have stepped aside. BCCI is more important than an individual. Individuals don’t matter. You have to maintain the integrity of the institution and that’s very important,” Manohar said.
Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke echoed similar feelings.
“It was strictly personal decision that I took because that time I felt uncomfortable with what was happening and therefore I decided to quit.
“Srinivasan for whatever reason decided not to resign. So it’s now coming to the state where the Supreme Court had to come down heavily on the board. Personally to me this is a very sad thing because we all have been members of that august body. It is sad to see that BCCI has landed in such a situation,” Shirke said.