The Supreme Court was Thursday informed that the amendment to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) rules for the dilution of ‘conflict of interest clause’ was aimed at benefiting the cricket body’s secretary N. Srinivasan.
The conflict of interest clause was diluted in order to legitimize the Indian Premier League T20 franchise India Cements Limited – the owner of Chennai Kings team – in which Srinivasan holds shares, senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the apex court.
Srinivasan is the company’s vice-chairman as well as managing director, a bench of Justice J.M. Panchal and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra was informed.
The apex court Thursday commenced hearing on two application by former BCCI president A.C. Muthiah pointing out that there was a conflict of interest in Srinivasan’s role as BCCI secretary and the stake holder in India Cements Limited.
He has said that the award of IPL franchisee to the company was in violation of the BCCI rules which forbid its office bearers from creating interest in IPL franchisees.
Initiating his arguments on the matter, the senior counsel wondered if amendments to the rules could have a retrospective effect. He said that rules were amended subsequent to the award of franchise to India Cements Limited.
The senior counsel said that the action of Srinivasan could be described as ‘insider trading’.
Singhvi told the court that the amendment to the ‘conflict of interest’ rules was affected on the recommendation of a committee that was constituted to frame anti-doping and anti-racial provisions for inclusion in the cricket body’s rules.
He said that surprisingly, the said committee did nothing on anti-doping and anti-racial provisions for which it was set up.
When it was pointed out that there was no mention of T20 matches in the BCCI rules, Singhvi said that when these rules were framed no one knew anything about T20 as it was not in existence.
The senior counsel said that since the BCCI was the sole cricketing body in the country and any cricketing event conducted by it would be covered under its rules.
The court was told that conflict of interest provision was amended because under the unamended provisions of the BCCI, the office bearer of the cricketing body or its affiliate would have faced ban if they engaged in activities that were in conflict with commercial interest of the cricket’s apex body.
Singhvi assailed the Madras High Court order questioning the locus standi of Muthiah. He said going by the BCCI rules the former president had every right to move the court and his locus standi could not be questioned.