On a day when former BCCI president Shashank Manohar emphatically called for the IPL to be suspended "until the faith of the people in the integrity of the game is restored", his successor, N Srinivasan, was busy exploring legal options to save his chair. In spite of getting a tongue-lashing from the Supreme Court on Tuesday, the cement baron is in no mood to step down or resign as BCCI chief. He will offer to "step aside", though.
In fact, the Chennai strongman, who underwent cataract surgery on Wednesday, is of the opinion that he "cannot be punished" because he has "done no wrong". Wonder how the Supreme Court will react to that argument on Thursday.
A senior BCCI official told dna that Srinivasan will not go down without a fight. "The president believes he is innocent. He will offer to step aside, not step down," the official said. "Why does the Supreme Court want him to resign? It is because it wants a fair probe. The president's view is that he need not resign for a fair probe to take place. He just needs to step aside. If he resigns, there will be a vacancy. That vacancy will obviously be filled. What happens once the probe is completed? Srinivasan can't be reinstated?"
As many as three of the five vice-presidents of the BCCI on Tuesday said that Srinivasan had no choice but to resign. But the embattled president is bracing up for another fight. On Wednesday, he held meetings with his legal team at his residence in Chennai's tony Boat Club Road.
Srinivasan's son-in-law, Gurunath Meiyappan, was arrested for betting-related offences while he was team principal of IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings. The franchise is owned by India Cements Ltd of which Srinivasan is vice-chairman and managing director. It's a case which calls for the termination of the franchise. But Srinivasan feels he has done no wrong. There is talk that three of the six individuals named in the "sealed envelope" are part of the Indian squad currently in Bangladesh. But the BCCI chief remains unfazed.
"Prima facie, the Supreme Court hasn't accepted or adopted the Mukul Mudgal committee report," the official said. But hadn't Srinivasan stepped aside last year too? Truth is nothing came of that probe. Meiyappan was given a clean chit by the BCCI-appointed panel. Why is he stepping aside and not stepping down? "A man has to try. The president is trying his best. He knows he is clean. His name is not there in that envelope. And till such time the Mudgal report is not accepted by court, he doesn't have to resign."