In a setback to N Srinivasan, the Supreme Court today barred him from contesting any BCCI polls unless he forsakes ownership of an IPL team and appointed a committee of retired judges to decide the punishment for his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra that could seal the fate of CSK and RR in the league.
The much-awaited verdict was delivered by a bench of Justices T S Thakur and F M I Khalifulla, which assailed the amendment in BCCI rules permitting cricket administrators like Srinivasan to have commercial interest by owing teams in IPL and Champions League and said it was bad on grounds of conflict of interest.
The apex court appointed a three-member committee of retired apex court judges headed by former Chief Justice of India R M Lodha to decide the quantum of punishment against Srinivasan’s son-in-law Meiyappan, who was also a CSK official and Kundra, co-owner of RR, who both were held guilty of betting.
The 138-page judgement virtually forces Srinivasan to quickly choose whether to contest BCCI’s chief’s post or hold on to Chennai Super Kings owned by India Cements Ltd (ICL) of which he is the Managing Director.
The Lodha Committee, also comprising Justices Ashok Bhan and R V Ravenderan, would hand down the punishment to Meiyappan and Kundra which under the IPL rules could lead to cancellation of the franchise relating to CSK and RR.
Notwithstanding the work of the three-member committee, the apex court directed that BCCI elections be held in six weeks "subject to the condition that no one who has any commercial interest in the BCCI events (including N Srinivasan) shall be eligible for contesting the elections for any post whatsoever".
"We make it clear that the disqualification for contesting elections applicable to those who are holding any commercial interest in BCCI events shall hold good and continue till such time the person concerned holds such commercial interest or till the Committee considers and awards suitable punishment to those liable for the same; whichever is later," the bench said.
The rider in the judgement probably would make it difficult for Srinivasan to become the BCCI President, unless he quickly relinquishes his interest in the CSK as the apex court asked the Committee to conclude its work "as early as possible, but as far as possible within a period of six months."