IPL scandal: Indian Court declares Srinivasan guilty of conflict of interest


NEW DELHI: India’s Supreme Court ordered Thursday world cricket chief Narayanaswami Srinivasan to give up his stake in the Indian Premier League if he wanted to be re-elected head of the country’s powerful board.

The court found Srinivasan guilty of a conflict of interest for having commercial dealings in the sport while head of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) by owning an Indian Premier League franchise.

“Srinivasan or any other administrator can’t contest elections (to the BCCI) (while) they have those interests,” the two-judge bench was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.

The court was ruling on the findings of a panel it appointed last year to investigate betting and other scandals in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL).

Srinivasan, 70, is managing director of India Cements which owns the Chennai Super Kings franchise captained by India skipper Mahendra Dhoni.

Srinivasan had asked the court to allow him to be reinstated as BCCI chief after the panel, headed by former judge Mukul Mudgal, cleared him of corruption charges in November.

Although the court on Thursday absolved Srinivasan of any specific wrongdoing, it struck down an IPL rule which allowed BCCI members to own a team in the popular Twenty20 tournament.

Srinivasan, appointed International Cricket Council chief last year, has not yet commented on whether he will run for the BCCI president’s post at elections in six weeks time for a second term or give up his stake in the Chennai Super Kings.

The court had barred Srinivasan from carrying out his duties as BCCI president, a post he held since 2011, until it delivered its final verdict.

The court also appointed Thursday a panel headed by a former chief justice of India to recommend changes to BCCI rules to avoid any future conflict of interest by its members.

The court agreed with the Mudgal panel that Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan took part in illegal betting while a team official of the Chennai Super Kings, as did Raj Kundra, owner of the Rajasthan Royals.

The court, however, recommended no punishment for the two franchises even though IPL rules state that a franchise can be suspended if any official indulged in unlawful activities.

The sixth IPL season last year was mired in controversy after police launched legal proceedings against several officials and cricketers, including former Test fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, for illegal betting and spot-fixing.

The IPL, a domestic tournament which began in 2008, features the world’s top players signed up for huge fees by companies and high-profile individuals in a mix of sport and entertainment.

International news organisations including Agence France-Presse have suspended on-field coverage of matches hosted by the BCCI since 2012 after the board imposed restrictions on picture agencies. – AFP