Mumbai, May 29: Embattled BCCI president N. Srinivasan today again brushed aside fresh demands for his resignation.
Srinivasan said, IPL chief Rajeev Shukla has only “reiterated what I had said in Kolkata that I will keep away from the inquiry process.”
Speaking to mediapersons here, Srinivasan said: “I have seen Shukla speaking on television. It is clear, Mr Shukla has clarified that during the commission's inquiry, I should dissociate myself from the process.
“In Kolkata, I had said I will have nothing to do with the appointment and terms and reference of the commission. He (Shukla) has only reiterated what I said.
“The commission is independent, there are two judges and the board secretary. Under operational rules, they have the powers to impose punishment. So, let's wait for the result.”
Meanwhile, pressure mounted from within the BCCI on N Srinivasan to resign as its President today with two Board heavyweights, Rajeev Shukla and Arun Jaitley, asking him to “disassociate” himself from the inquiry proceedings against his son-in-law and IPL franchise CSK.
Interestingly, Shukla, who is also the IPL Chairman, did not utter the word resignation in reference to Srinivasan when he met the press after a meeting with Jaitley, a BCCI Vice President.
Shukla's demand came on a day the Union Sports Ministry also entered the fray to ask for Srinivasan's resignation on moral grounds. There has been relentless media pressure on the “silence” of the BCCI officials on the issue of Srinivasan's continuance.
The new momentum against Srinivasan, who owns CSK, grew a day after Board functionary Jyotiraditya Scindia asked him to resign pending the inquiry against his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, who was the Team Principal of CSK, before being arrested on charges of betting.
“Till the pendency of inquiry, he should disassociate himself from the procedure as earlier also, it was discussed that he should disassociate. Disassociate, what it means is very clear.
“He will have to take a decision now. Me and Mr Jaitley had suggested him,” Shukla said after meeting Jaitley.
“Credibility of the Board is supreme for us. We will act in best interest of the Board and Indian cricket,” he added.
A three-member BCCI inquiry committee is probing Meiyappan and the spot-fixing allegations against three Rajasthan Royals players and its franchise as well as the Chennai Super Kings.
Justice T Jayaram Chouta, former Judge of the Karnataka and Madras High Courts, Justice R Balasubramanian, former Judge of the Madras High Court, and BCCI Secretary Sanjay Jagdale are members of the Commission.
“What we are suggesting is that the recommendation of this commission should be binding on BCCI for implementation. It will not be that the report will be sent to BCCI and they will ponder over it, it would be binding. That has been agreed on,” said Shukla.
Ever since the scandal broke out, Srinivasan has shown defiance, refusing to quit and insisting that his resignation is only being sought by a “hounding media”.
Today's developments indicate a hardening of stand among some of the key members of the Board who are active politicians and could prompt others to make similar demands.
“He is an elected President. We are of the view, even Mr Jaitley feels so, that it would be good if he stays away from this procedure. We have made this suggestion and the decision on this matter is up to him. He has told us that he is not at fault and why should he be punished,” Shukla said.
“A probe committee has been made and we wanted majority of them to be outsiders, that's why we have brought in two judges. We have suggested the report should not go to the BCCI, the findings should be recommended as it is. This is what we want,” he added.
The Sports Ministry has also sought Srinivasan's resignation for the sake of propriety.
“BCCI is enquiring into allegations of match and spot fixing. As there is a conflict of interest in this inquiry, therefore BCCI President should tender his resignation on moral grounds, pending the outcome of the inquiry,” the Ministry said in a statement.
The Ministry said it is observing the unfolding events “with considerable disquiet” and reiterated its commitment towards a strong anti-corruption law for sports.
Before today, neither Shukla nor Jaitley had come on record to call for Srinivasan's ouster, raising speculation that they may have come under some pressure in the wake of media's continued focus on the controversy.
With three BCCI office-bearers, all of whom political bigwigs, seeking Srinivasan's temporary ouster, it will be interesting to see what stand the Tamil Nadu strongman will take having all along maintained that nobody from the Board had asked him to quit.
It is learnt that both Shukla and Jaitley had gently told Srinivasan to step down on grounds of propriety during their meeting in Kolkata on Sunday but he steadfastly refused to do so.
Elsewhere, Hyderabad Cricket Association President G Vinod also demanded Srinivasan's ouster.
“When you take the public mandate it very clearly shows that he needs to step down. It is important that he puts his conscience in the right place. As far his resignation is concerned there is bound to be some kind of discussion,” Vinod said.