NEW DELHI - The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected N. Srinivasan's plea to reinstate him as India's cricket chief, saying he had effectively turned a blind eye to allegations of wrongdoing in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Giving reasons for its decision, the court also said Srinivasan -- seen as the most powerful man in world cricket -- was among 13 people named in a damning report into corruption allegations in the IPL, a Twenty20 tournament.
Srinivasan had asked the court on Tuesday to reinstate him as head of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), saying he was being unfairly blamed for corruption allegations that have hit its flagship competition. But the court in New Delhi said Srinivasan knew about, but did not take seriously, allegations contained in the court-commissioned report into claims of illegal betting and spot-fixing embroiling the IPL.
"We cannot close our eyes after having come to know about allegations," the Press Trust of India (PTI) quoted Justice A.K Patnaik as saying, adding the court wanted the BCCI itself to handle a probe into the allegations. "It (the report) said all these allegations were brought to his (Srinivasan's) notice but he did not take any action. That means he was aware about the allegations and did not take it seriously," Patnaik said. The court last month ordered Srinivasan to stand aside, installing batting Indian great Sunil Gavaskar as interim BCCI head, charged with overseeing the latest edition of the Twenty20 tournament which opens later Wednesday. Patnaik reiterated the court's opinion that Srinivasan's presence as BCCI head would prevent a fair investigation into the allegations, the PTI news agency reported. The court asked the BCCI to provide details of how it planned to conduct any probe into the allegations contained in the report, before adjourning the case until April 22. A court-appointed panel has been looking into allegations surrounding last year's IPL, when former Test bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth was caught deliberately bowling badly while playing for the Rajasthan Royals in return for thousands of dollars from bookmakers.
The panel's report, sections of which were released in February, concluded that Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan -- who was the team principal of the Chennai Super Kings -- could be guilty of illegal betting on IPL games. The Super Kings are owned by India Cements, whose managing director is Srinivasan. The team is captained by India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The court on Wednesday did not detail why Srinivasan, who is still due to take over as head of the International Cricket Council in July, had been named in the report. On Tuesday Srinivasan told the court in his affidavit that he had not been involved in any corruption or cover-up of any wrongdoing. With its massive TV audiences, India generates almost 70 percent of the game's revenues and several Test nations are heavily dependent on its largesse.