The Supreme Court on Monday put the onus on BCCI president-in-exile N Srinivasan to prove that there was no conflict of interest involving him that came in the way of a probe into the IPL-6 scam and took strong exception to his counsel “repeatedly” naming finance minister Arun Jaitley in the proceedings.
“You are repeatedly naming Jaitley who is not represented here. He is not a party here. Don’t attribute it to a person who is not represented here,” a bench comprising justices TS Thakur and FMI Kalifulla said.
The remarks were made while Srinivasan’s counsel Kapil Sibal was stressing that a BCCI panel set up to probe the scam was constituted on the suggestion of Jaitley, who was of the view that the inquiry should be free from BCCI’s interference.
Sibal said the issue of Jaitley’s view was reflected in the record and later referred to in the minutes of May 28, 2013 working committee meeting to substantiate his submission.
The bench proceeded with the hearing saying “If you mention name, you have to mention the context because he is not represented.”
Since the major part of the hearing on Monday was on the issue of conflict of interest involving Srinivasan, the bench said “We have a different opinion on the conflict of interest issue. You have to lift the veil.”
Sibal was arguing that there was no finding either by the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee or the Bombay high court against him on the conflict of interest issue.
The senior advocate said “even if you lift the veil you will not find anything on conflict of interest and they (rivals) only want him to remove (from BCCI).”
Responding to his contentions, the bench said it was upto him to “demonstrate” that there was no conflict of interest as the question has arisen on admitted facts.
Sibal said at no point of time was Srinivasan given an opportunity either before the Mudgal Committee or the high court to address the issue of conflict of interest.
The issue of conflict of interest was neither in the pleadings before the high court nor in the terms of reference of the Mudgal Committee and it was raised only in the apex court, he said.
“They only want to remove him. They are not espousing the cause of cricket. They are espousing something else,” he said while countering allegations levelled by Cricket Association of Bihar and its Secretary Aditya Verma against Srinivasan.
Sibal commenced his arguments by saying that Srinivasan has been publicly vilified and held guilty. Today he has got a chance to prove to the hilt that all allegations are false as he had acted with speed on knowing about the alleged involvement of his son-in-law in the IPL-6 scandal, he contended, he said.
The senior advocate said the allegation of cover up against Srinivasan was wrong as the day Meiyappan was arrested on May 24, 2013 in Mumbai, the BCCI lodged complaint against India Cements Ltd, the company in which he is a Managing Director that owns Chennai Super Kings (CSK) team.
BCCI in its working committee meeting on May 28, 2013 had set up a three-member Commission comprising two retired judges as independent members and and one from the board with Srinivasan asking the Board to proceed against Meiyappan, who was an official of CSK, Sibal said.
He added that there was a suggestion in this regard from Arun Jaitley, who was of the view that there should not be interference by the Board into the probe.
However, the bench showered questions on the appointment of the commission and even observed “was it on the concurrence of the BCCI President”.
“Who was at the helm of the working committee meeting? Who was heading the meeting?,” the bench asked when Sibal was making the submissions.
When it was told that the Commission was not in place before the scandal, the bench observed, “Do you constitute the commission depending upon the people in the complaint. You don’t have a prior commission. So, for different complaints, there would be different commissions.”
The hearing will resume on December 8.