Srini clean bowled by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court delivered the much-awaited verdict on the IPL betting scam that rocked cricket – both in the country as well as on the international level.

The whip was cracked on the cricketing honcho as the apex court barred Srinivasan from contesting in any BCCI elections on grounds of conflict of interest.

The apex court pronounced the verdict while striking down BCCI’s rule 6.2.4 which allowed the office bearers of the BCCI to have commercial interests in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Champions League Twenty20 and all events organized by the BCCI.

Raj Kundra (owner of Rajasthan Royals) and Gurunath Meiyappan (Chennai Super Kings ‘enthusiast’ and Srinivasan’s son-in-law) were also nailed. The Supreme Court observed they were involved in betting, that too, despite being team officials. This means, it’s more or less end of story for them.

The other party that had a rather embarrassing day at office was the BCCI itself, whose functions according to the Supreme Court are public functions. Hence, it cannot always take cover under the argument that it is a private body.

The Supreme Court also observed the BCCI didn’t adhere to the rules it had made while conducting the IPL. It said the Mudgal committee had followed all prescribed rules while conducting the probe and that the verdict was full and final. 

It would be interesting to see what punishment is handed out to Kundra and Meiyappan and whether CSK and Rajasthan Royals would be allowed to participate in the upcoming season of the IPL. What would be more interesting would be how the logistics would be managed if these two teams are to be thrown out of the fold.

Srinivasan, despite the lashes still came out a benefactor because he got a clean chit from the Supreme Court with respect to the betting scam.

From dictating terms to the BCCI and the ICC to the Supreme Court, he’s always been unperturbed by any controversy that’s come knocking on his door. Even in the initial few hearings, the SC had always maintained that Srinivasan had never tried to influence the probe. And now, the apex court has declared that there is no evidence of malpractice against him.

Here’s a synopsis of the rise of this big-gun.

Narayanaswami Srinivasan, better known as N Srinivasan, the cricket baron in India, is the emperor of the cricketing kingdom. He started slowly, but surely, taking the entire BCCI reigns in his hand, conquering international territories, too. Last year, in July, Srini was crowned as the first ever president of the ICC. His ascend to the top has been nothing but meteorical.

2001: Tamil Nadu, his ‘homeground’ proved to be the perfect place to start an innings that would bear a ‘not out’ sign for a long, long time. It was from here that he became a close supporter of then-BCCI president AC Muthiah.

2002: This was a breakthrough year for him, as he established his roots in cricket administration, becoming the president of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association.

2005: Srinivasan took his next step, towards the larger pie, the BCCI. From the state association, he became the treasurer of the national board. Big breakthrough.

2008: This was when the plot of a thick, bollywood-kind of a story was conceived. His company, India Cements, managed to become the franchisee of Chennai’s IPL team – the Chennai Super Kings. From there onwards began a spiralling controversy, that clearly indicated a conflict of interests and a violation of the codes set by the IPL governing body, which clearly stated that:

“No administrator shall have, directly or indirectly, any commercial interest in the matches and events conducted by the board.”

The clause was amended, all of a sudden, to accommodate the future cricket honcho’s interests. From what it read, it was tweaked to:

“No administrator shall have, directly or indirectly, any commercial interest in any of the events of the BCCI, excluding IPL, Champions League and Twenty20.”

This just paved the way for Srinivasan to go a step further and get elected as the BCCI secretary.

2010: In April, his former friend turned against him, filing a petition in the Supreme Court, explaining that there is, most definitely a conflict of interests, and that Srinivasan should not be allowed to take over as BCCI president. However, the SC dismissed the plea.

In September, however, the SC decided that there was, in fact, a conflict of interests and said, Srinivasan should step down from his position in the BCCI. However, it quickly retracted its statement, saying it was just a ‘suggestion’, not a verdict.

Unperturbed by all that was happening around, it was in September, when Srini slowly started showing how powerful he was. With a backing not just from the South Zone (Hyderabad, Kerala and Tamil Nadu), he got support from three other state boards, cementing his spot as a president elect.  

2011: Owing to no unanimous decision being arrived at regarding Muthiah petition, it was referred to the Chief Justice. This was the very split decision that Muthiah used to try and stop Srinivasan from taking over as the BCCI president. However, the Supreme Court cleared his way, saying if it were to stop Srinivasan from taking over as the president; it would mean that a verdict has been passed, when, in reality, a bench was still conducting a probe.

2012: Srinivasan slowly began demonstrating his true colours. He openly criticised the technology that the ICC used in the matches, objected to the Woolf report. When Sahara chose to pull out of the sponsorship contract owing to conflicts, Srinivasanstepped in and coaxed them back.  

With an exhibition of power, there were many detractors. The then-Indian selector Mohinder Amarnath accused Srinivasan of poking his nose in matters of selection, not allowing the selection committee to axe MS Dhoni after a disastrous performance against Australia.

2013: The 2013 edition of the IPL brought with it a lot of trouble – for players, officials and franchisees. Oh wait, for bookies as well. Yes, this edition was marred in betting scams, and Srinivasan emerged to be the kingpin. Still not decided by the Supreme Court, but kingpin, he is. His son-in-law has already been accused.

Srinivasan was asked to step down from his position and step down; he did, but setting two conditions. He insisted on representing India at the big ICC meets and no one could stop him. He made a roaring comeback as BCCI president, unopposed, that too.

2014: The Mudgal Report nailed his son-in-law. Srinivasan washed his hands off the matter. He went on to be elected as the ICC president, the first ever, that too.

His glee didn’t last for long, as the Supreme Court asked him to step down so that a fair probe could be conducted into the findings of the Mudgal report. The BCCI said he would step aside to accommodate a ‘time-restricted’ probe that the SC conducts.

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