New Delhi: The Supreme Court today refused to pass any order on the plea to restrain N Srinivasan from participating in the November 20 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the BCCI and to declare as illegal the continuance of its office bearers due to the failure of the Board to hold its
elections prior to September 30.
The apex court said before taking any call on the issue, it will wait for the outcome of the inquiry of the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee which is probing the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal and is scheduled to file its final report by November 10.
"Let us wait for the report of the probe committee. Let the decks be cleared for the elections. We had given the last order (on September 2013) allowing him (Srinivasan) to participate in the election but he will not hold the office (President) till further order.
"Till then you keep quite. We are not concerned at this stage with the AGM. Please wait till the report of the Justice Mudgal Committee is filed," a bench comprising Justices T S Thakur and F M I Kalifulla told the Cricket Association of Bihar which was seeking directions to declare the postponement of AGM after September 30 as illegal.
Senior advocate Nalini Chidamabaram, appearing for the CAB, also submitted that since the AGM was not held prior to September 30, no office bearers have locus standi to continue in the working committee of the BCCI.
She also submitted that since Srinivasan has been directed by this court not to function as President of the BCCI, how can he contest the coming polls.
However, the bench said the apex court's order last year made it clear that the arrangement was till further order and also he is not ineligible to contest the BCCI election.
It also questioned CAB's Secretary Aditya Verma of coming out with the plea to bar Srinivasan from contesting the polls before the submission of the Justice Mudgal Committee's report.
"So you are filing the plea that don't allow him to contest when the sword is hanging. Tomorrow who knows he could be exonerated," the bench observed and added that "if there is an election what happens to his right".
Realising that the bench was not inclined to give any relief to the CAG, Chidambaram said, "Don't pass positive order allowing him to contest".
Before the matter was posted for hearing on November 10, the BCCI informed the bench that the Registrar of Cooperative Society has allowed it to hold the AGM on November 20.
At the outset, the bench also told CAB that it was concerned with the limited issue of spot-fixing and betting in the last edition of the IPL.
The plea filed by CAB claimed that Srinivasan got members of BCCI to meet informally at Chennai on September 7, and himself attended the meeting as representative of TamilNadu Cricket Association and got them to agree that the AGM of the Board will not be held in September, 2014.
"BCCI is being run as a private fiefdom of Srinivasan and all the members of the BCCI act with herd mentality and seem to be acting at his behest to promote his interest and ensure that he has a total monopoly over the BCCI...," the plea said.
It further said that even after Srinivasan was restrained by apex court from acting as the President of BCCI, "he has by proxy continued to act as virtually its President". The plea contended that Srinivasan holds tremendous influence over other members of the Board, who are dependent
on the patronage of Board's office bearers.
Claiming that the strategy behind postponing AGM was to wait for the Justice Mudgal Report so that if Srinivasan was exonerated then he can contest for the President's post. "Hence the postponement of the AGM is undemocratic and not in the interest of BCCI. BCCI should be directed to call the AGM forthwith to uphold democratic principles," it added.
The apex court, on September 1, had rejected Srinivasan's plea for reinstatement as BCCI President and asked the panel to complete it's investigation within two months and also allowed it to file interim report against him or any other office bearer who are under its scrutiny.
The court had posted the case for further hearing on November two but allowed the committee to file interim report on any individual if it wishes.
Justice Mudgal committee, which is conducting probe against Srinivasan and 12 prominent players in the scandal,
had on August 29 filed its interim report in a sealed cover before the Supreme Court.
The apex court had on May 16 given the task to conduct probe against 69-year-old Srinivasan and 12 players to Justice Mudgal panel and asked it to file its report by end of August.
It had rejected BCCI's proposal to conduct the probe through its own panel. The Mudgal committee had earlier investigated the scandal
and submitted in a sealed envelope its initial report in which names of Srinivasan and 12 cricketers were mentioned.
Besides Justice Mudgal, the panel has Additional Solicitor General L Nageshwar Rao and advocate Nilay Dutta as members.
A group of investigators headed by senior IPS officer B B Mishra has assisted the Mudgal Committee which was given the power to probe, search and seize relevant documents and record evidence.