In the first major fallout following Shashank Manohar taking over as the BCCI president, former board president N Srinivasan has been debarred from attending BCCI meetings in the future. The cricket board conveyed this decision to the Supreme Court through its counsel KK Venugopal.
“The decision to bar Srinivasan was taken as it was felt that he had a conflict of interest,” Venugopal told the double bench of Justices T.S. Thakur and F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla. “Srinivasan stands disqualified from participating in the working committee meetings or any other meeting of the board as he still has commercial interest in the management of the IPL T20 team Chennai Super Kings,” Venugopal told the bench.
A board official informed The Guardian that things would be tougher for the former BCCI strongman from now on. “His banning from the meetings is the first step. In the coming days, you can expect to hear the board imposing more restrictions on him,” the official said.
Referring to the judgment of 22 January, in which Srinivasan was disqualified from contesting the board elections because of a conflict of interest, Venugopal trashed the “claimed transfer” of Srinivasan’s shares in the management of CSK to a Trust as a sham transaction. “The restructuring of CSK was a sham transaction and his disqualification because of conflict of interest as a cricket official having commercial interest under Rule 6.2.4 continues. BCCI, after taking the legal view, has taken a considered decision to exclude him from all meetings of the cricket board,” Venugopal said.
Srinivasan’s lawyer Kapil Sibal disputed the BCCI’s stand on his client’s “conflict of interest” and told the court that the “BCCI has passed no resolution to bar Srinivasan from attending meetings of the board”.
However, in the face of the BCCI’s aggressive stand, Srinivasan’s counsel appeared conciliatory. “The BCCI is a significant organisation and it should not wash dirty linen in public. Parties should sit together, resolve differences and find a solution,” Sibal said.
The bench heard out the parties, but refused to interfere, saying the court had nothing to do since the developments were after the 22 January judgement. “We cannot be monitoring and judging every development in BCCI. Are we supervising their activities? If BCCI takes a stand which is contrary to law, are we here to give an opinion on it? Is the BCCI in our opinion jurisdiction?” the bench asked.
The bench further said if Srinivasan had a grievance against the BCCI’s decision to bar him from attending the board’s meetings, he had the legal recourse to challenge it. “The appropriate court will examine whether the conflict of interest, which he suffered earlier, has been appropriately erased by transfer of his shares in CSK to a Trust. After examining this, the court concerned will return a finding,” it said.