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SC slams Srinivasan, asks how can BCCI President own IPL team

Putting a spanner on N Srinivasan's bid to get reinstated as BCCI chief, the Supreme Court today said it will look into 'conflict of interest' issue arising from his being head of the cricket board and owning an IPL team whose official is found to be involved in betting

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday told BCCI that cricket must be played in its true spirit and should remain a gentleman’s game. Supreme Court’s hearing of the IPL spot-fixing inquiry resumed following the report filed by the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee

The apex court stated "If you allow these things to happen, then you are killing the game of cricket" when referring to the IPL spot-fixing scandal.

The court further told BCCI "We take the findings of Justice Mudgal Committee's report as gospel truth."


N. Srinivasan

It also further stated that the benefit of doubt should go in favour of game rather than any individual.

Observing that it is a "serious issue that can't be wished away", the apex court also made it clear that it will consider the conduct of his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, an official of Chennai Super Kings, while deciding his plea to get back his post from which he had to step aside in June last year in view of the IPL-6 betting and spot fixing scandal.

"Please do not go by the report that you are not involved in the betting and spot fixing and scuttling the probe. Despite all this your official is involved which will affect you," the bench comprising justices T S Thakur and F M I Kalifulla, told Srinivasan's counsel Kapil Sibal who pleaded that the report has nothing against him.

"Don't presume anything," the bench said, adding,"You are contesting the election by saying that you are not involved but somebody close to you is involved."

At the outset, the bench raised questions on how Srinivasan can own a team while being President of the Board. It said "the BCCI and IPL cannot be separated and is a creature or product or byproduct of BCCI".

"Some people who are in the BCCI now own a team. It has become a mutual benefit society. The ownership of team raises conflict of interests. President of BCCI has to run the show but you have a team which raises questions and it can't be wished away," it said.

Expressing serious concern over cricket being bowled by betting and spot fixing scandal in IPL 6, the bench said
"cricket is a religion in the country and the purest form of the game must be restored"

BCCI, however, dismissed any conflict of interest.

Srinivasan is managing director of India Cements, which owns the IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings (CSK).

India Cements, in a Nov 21 court hearing, told the Supreme Court that any action against CSK would have disastrous consequences for the cash-rich Twenty20 tournament.

If any orders are passed against India Cements it could have "disastrous consequences not only for this respondent (India Cements) but also for the entire league, the cricketers involved, third parties such as sponsors, apart from millions of fans, Chennai Super Kings being arguably the most valuable and popular team in IPL," India Cements said in its response to the Mudgal Committee report.

Mudgal Committee inquired into the allegations of match fixing and betting on the direction of the apex court and had submitted its final report Nov 1. The committee, in its report, said that Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was involved in betting while exonerating him of spot fixing charges.
 
The committee described Meiyappan as a "team official" of CSK.

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