Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Game All But Over For Srinivasan

Six Days After BCCI Boss Declared He Had Board’s Unanimous Support, He’s Running Out Of Partners His No. 2 And No. 3 Quit, Several More Top Officials Expected To Follow Suit
    BCCI president N Srinivasan was left reeling on the ropes on Friday after a series of punishing body blows through the day. In the morning, Sachin Tendulkar issued a strongly-worded statement terming the developments of the last two weeks “shocking and disappointing”. But worse was to follow. In the evening, BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale and treasurer Ajay Shirke both submitted their resignations, taking the anti-Srinivasan momentum to a whole new pitch and leaving him virtually isolated within the board he ostensibly heads.
    It now appears certain that almost all senior board officials will put in their papers on Saturday if Srinivasan doesn’t agree to step aside voluntarily. A highly-placed board official told TOI, “Some of us will talk to him in the morning and request him yet again. But if he remains adamant, we’ll resign.”
    Even now, with the effective No. 2 and No. 3 in the BCCI resigning, the board is virtually crippled. It is unlikely that anyone will agree to step into their roles under such controversial circumstances. Clearly, Srinivasan’s chances of riding out this storm are receding by the moment.
    Sources within the BCCI said that board members had been trying to get Srinivasan to call an emergency meeting of the working committee for the last three days. However, his refusal to cooperate has forced their hand. They are said to have the support of the sponsors and IPL franchisees, who believe that the brand equity of IPL has taken a beating.
    The sources said that the last straw came on Thursday when Shirke bluntly asked Srinivasan when he planned to hold the working committee meeting. Srinivasan apparently sidestepped the issue, leaving Shirke fuming.
    Srinivasan is believed to have told the BCCI treasurer on Thursday that there was no tenable case against his son-in-law and Chennai Super Kings principal Gurunath Meiyappan and that he expected the betting-fixing controversy to blow over soon. This convinced the board members that there was no hope of persuading Srinivasan to depart graciously and they would have to adopt pressure tactics. Resignations shock Srinivasan camp
    On Thursday night, Jaitley, IPL commissioner Rajeev Shukla and former BCCI chief Shashank Manohar are learnt to have spoken to key board members. It was then decided that Shirke, joint secretary Anurag Thakur and vice president Sudhir Dabir would be the first to quit. However, on Friday morning, it was decided that Jagdale and Shirke would resign first.
    “I don’t want to continue like this. I can’t sacrifice my image for BCCI. The entire board is being blamed for nothing. I can’t see this happening every day on a regular basis,” Shirke told TOI after resigning.
    Realising that the pressure couldn’t be warded off any more, Srinivasan finally agreed to hold a working committee meeting on June 8. But this was unacceptable to the board members, who saw it as a ploy by Srinivasan to play for time. They are now demanding that a meeting be held on Monday or Tuesday.
    The resignation of the two senior BCCI officials will only add to the pressure on Srinivasan.
    Their opposition to Srinivasan has been hardening ever since Jagdale-who has a reputation of being an efficient, clean administratorwas nominated to the threemember panel set up by BCCI to probe the fixing and betting racket without his consent.
    On Thursday, Jagdale wrote to Srinivasan, asking him to withdraw his name from the panel.
    Sources close to Jagdale told TOI that he believes there is little public confidence in the panel and he risked losing his own credibility by being associated with it. Jagdale’s move apparently sent shockwaves through the Srinivasan camp. After all, if the board’s own secretary was seen as being sceptical about the panel, its credibility would be seriously damaged even before it began work.
    According to BCCI sources, Srinivasan then pleaded with Jagdale to stay on the panel and promised to call a working committee meeting in three days to discuss and sort out all matters. Jagdale decided to hold back his withdrawal from the panel. However, when Srinivasan said he would hold the meeting on June 8, and not within three days as he had promised, it convinced his detractors that he was not serious about his promise to resolve matters and was simply trying to buy time. This led them to kick off the aggressive campaign against Srinivasan, which is expected to intensify over the weekend.
Sumit Mukherjee, Ruchir Mishra, Shriniwas Rao, Amit Karmarkar TNN

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