New Delhi, March 25: Pressure is mounting on Narayanaswami Srinivasan to quit as BCCI president after the Supreme Court Tuesday made it clear that he has to step down to enable a fair investigation in the Indian Premier League (IPL) betting scandal.
When contacted by IANS, Srinivasan’s terse reply was: “I cannot comment on the matter. The case is subjudice.”
Srinivasan, however, has less than 48 hours to make up his mind as the Supreme Court not only adjourned the hearing till Thursday for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) counsel to take instructions but also threatened to pronounce its own decision if he doesn’t quit.
Three of the five BCCI vice-presidents — Shivlal Yadav, Ravi Sawant and Chitrak Mitra — and former board president Shashank Manohar have already spoken out asking Srinivasan, who is likely to take over as the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) first chairman in July, to abide by the Supreme Court’s order.
Sawant said there was no question of Srinivasan not following the apex court’s order.
“Since the Supreme Court has said it, there’s no question of not following it. If the Supreme Court has said he must step down then he must,” Sawant was quoted as saying by TV channels.
Yadav also said that Srinivasan must abide by the Supreme Court’s decision.
“The BCCI will abide by the Supreme Court order. There is no question of not following it
“SC has given the order, nobody can challenge it. We have to accept it,” Yadav said.
Manohar, who was BCCI president when Srinivasan was the board secretary, said had he been in his successor’s place he would have resigned long time back. Manohar had called for Srinivasan’s resignation when the IPL betting scandal came to light last year.
“I would have stepped down had I been in Srinivasan’s position. The BCCI is bigger than any one individual,” said Manohar, during whose tenure former IPL chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi was suspended.
Modi, a vocal critic of Srinivasan, said it would take a lot to re-build the credibility of the game.
“Big task ahead to win back the hearts and faith of the fans. Second step to rid everyone connected to India Cements (headed by Srinivasan) from cricket,” said Modi.
Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke, who had stepped down along with board secretary Sanjay Jagdale in the midst of the IPL scandal, said it was a sad day for the board.
“The day the scandal came to light I immediately decided to step down. It was purely a personal decision. Srinivasan, however, has carried on and now it has come to such a state that the Supreme Court has come down heavily on the BCCI. It is sad to see that BCCI has landed in such a situation,” Shirke told a TV Channel.
Former India cricketers Bishen Singh Bedi and Mohinder Amarnath also came down heavily on Srinivasan.
While Amarnath, who had his run-ins with Srinivasan during his tenure as a national selector, said the BCCI chief should step down in the interest of the game, Bedi took to Twitter to say that the board has touched an all time low.
“BCCI touches lowest low-thx SC’ nudge ‘Srini must step dn’ & out of all matters crkting!What happens2all his cronies in bcci & icc?!Hail SC!” Bedi tweeted.
Bedi also lauded Justice (retired) Mukul Mudgal for cleaning Indian cricket.
“Justice MMudgal arrived on Indn crkt scene most providentially/aptly 2 clean up corrupted culture-any culture gd or bad stems frm top down!!,” Bedi tweeted.
Goa Cricket Association (GCA) vice-president Shekhar Salkar said Srinivasan should not only resign from the BCCI, but should also not take up the post of ICC chairman.
“The BCCI (Board of Cricket Control of India) president has to resign not only as BCCI chief, but also as a future International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman,” Salkar said.