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Players, administrators with interests not to run the game: SC

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New Delhi: The BCCI today submitted a list of players including former greats Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri and Saurav Ganguly and administrators with commercial interest in the IPL to the Supreme Court which reserved its order in the alleged betting and spot fixing scam case.

Perusing the BCCI’s list which also included Anil Kumble, Krish Srikkanth, Venkatesh Prasad and Lalchand Rajput, a bench headed by Justice T S Thakur said, “If you have  commercial interest in the IPL or any other format, then you should not be in the administration.”

Senior advocate C A Sundaram, appearing for BCCI, gave the list and said that in some way or the other, they  have commercial interests in the IPL.

“Some of them are doing commentary and players like Kumble and Srikkanth are the mentors of IPL teams Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively,” Sundaram said.

The Court said, “So far as IPL or Champions League are concerned, you (BCCI) have removed them from rule 6.2.4. Let us not deal with it. Let us take the example of tests. The no.7 (Srikkanth) is in the selection committee. He is also a mentor of Sunrisers Hyderabad (IPL team).

“How can you keep him there (in the selection panel). How will you justify that,” the bench, also comprising Justice F M I Kalifulla, said.

“How you allowed the No.7 (Srikkanth) to be a selector when he already had a role in IPL. We are on the selection of national team,” it said.

These are the cases of “potential” conflict of interests and it would be a very difficult situation if they are treated as “conflict of interests”, the counsel for BCCI said.

Effective ways and means could be found to deal with cases of conflict of interests if they arise,  Sundaram said, adding, “M S Dhoni promotes Chennai Super Kings (CSK). He is also the caption of national team and plays a key role in selection of the Indian team.”

“The rule (6.2.4) should not be allowed to go. We can decide the method to deal with the situation of conflict of interests,” he said.

The court said there was a difference between the persons who have put themselves on auction with those (like commentators) who render their services for a fixed remuneration and are “dispassionate” with result of the game.

“Commentators are not interested in the fate of the match. Their role is like Sanjay of Mahabhartha… they remain dispassionate,” the bench said.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Srinivasan, said a person cannot be accused of having conflict of interest just because he happened to be an administrator and part of a company which owns a team simultaneously.

“If my holding the office of BCCI President and my owning a team is conflict of interest then please pass an order against me,” he said.

The conflict of interest cannot be a “matter of policy” and it should must be “irreconcilable”, he said.

Sibal gave illustrations and said, “It exists everywhere. There is hardly any place where conflict of interests is not there. It happens in judiciary also.”

The bench then said, “how can you as President of BCCI give a reward of Rs 16 crore to your team. Of course other teams also got the money… The fact that you returned the money later, does not mitigate your action.”

“It is not that BCCI has not done any good work. There are ills and we are here to deal with them,” Sibal said, adding, “the match fixing and betting has nothing to do with rule 6.2.4. Fixing and betting took place in 90s also when this rule was not there.”

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