BCCI may challenge SC’s ‘conflict of interest’

“How can court accept recommendations of court-appointed panel?”
Srinivasan’s birth certificate shows he is less than 50-yrs

Mumbai, July 20: With the Supreme Court accepting major recommendations of the Lodha Committee on reforms in BCCI including a bar on ministers and civil servants, those above the age of 70 from becoming its member and conflict of interest in members holding dual posts, the cricket board, it is learnt, is ready to take on the apex court on the very same grounds.

“We accept the verdict of the honourable court with all humility,” a source close to the top echelons of the BCCI said and added “but at the same time, we cannot help point out that the court is guilty of the same thing that we are being accused of.”

For instance, the Lodha Committee itself was appointed by the Supreme Court. “Now, how can the court accept the recommendations of a committee appointed by the court itself?” the source asked not unreasonably. “Does this not amount to conflict of interest?”

‘Also, Lodha himself, allow us to point out here, has headed the committee even while holding the constitutional post of former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,” the BCCI source with typical discernment said. “If the SC can appoint its own retired personnel for a committee, we find little logic in stopping the BCCI from appointing retired people (from elsewhere) to its own committees”.

Further, a man who is retired from service has recommended that other old and retired personnel cannot hold posts in the BCCI. This should be described as being funny and farcical, but we wouldn’t since this is a court matter, the BCCI source added.

More importantly, our own investigations have led to the important finding that ‘Lodha committee’ itself anagrams to ‘hold a committee’.  “We feel this is significant and exposes the inherent double standards”.

The recommendations of Lodha panel that have been accepted by the Supreme Court include: 1) Each state will have only one vote at BCCI elections. 2) Ministers and civil servants cannot hold BCCI offices. 3) BCCI and state office bearers must not be over 70-years-old. 4) No person can hold office at the BCCI and state association simultaneously. 5) No person can hold more than three, three-year terms as a BCCI official, and no official can serve consecutive terms.

Meanwhile, the Lodha panel recommendations, as and when they are implemented, will come as a major blow to the former BCCI strongman N Srinivasan. The former chief, who is now heading the Tamil Nadu unit, will stand to lose his post because of the age factor. But those in the know of things are still not ready to count him out. The grapevine has it that N Srinivasan is actually ready with a birth certificate that has him born in 1970, which makes him less than 50 years of age.

Asked who will believe such cheap stunts, a source close to Srinivasan said: Everyone.  “I mean when his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, who was visibly running the show at Chennai Super Kings was caught with his hand in the till, Srinivasan coolly chose to project Guru as just a ‘cricket enthusiast’ and had nothing to do with the CSK. Even the courts seemed to accept it. Compared to that this is actually — to use a seasonal word — jujube. So there is every hope that the court will buy the theory that Srinivasan is just around 50 years of age.”

Meanwhile, stung by the repeated interferences in its affairs, the BCCI may shift to a place where irritating extraneous forces, like the country’s law and the courts, have no reach. The BCCI, it is reliably learnt, will from now on be headquartered at Luxembourg, where, it is equally reliably learnt, the Indian Supreme Court’s writ does not run.

“Luxembourg is indeed a safe haven to run our affairs from. It is so safe that most of them can’t even locate it on the maps,” a BCCI source said.

Sources added there was nothing unduly wrong in having its headquarters in Luxembourg. “If companies can have their base in offshore places to avoid pesky taxes, why can’t we, as an autonomous body, have our headquarters there to avoid peskier laws?”.