Mumbai/Kolkata: BCCI President N Srinivasan's rivals were on Saturday said to be plotting a strategy to seek his ouster even as he remained defiant rejecting demands for his resignation in the wake of the arrest of his son-in-law and CSK team owner Gurunath Meiyappan on betting charges. However, doubts over Sunday's IPL final involving CSK and Mumbai Indians were cleared with IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla saying that the match will be held as scheduled on Sunday in Kolkata.
Shukla told reporters that "everything is under discussion" but did not elaborate. Hectic lobbying was on in both camps as Srinivasan arrived in Kolkata where former BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya hosted a dinner for BCCI functionaries ahead of Sunday's final.
Srinivasan supporters and TNCA officials were calling various state units in a bid to lobby support for the beleaguered chief against whom his rivals are planning to initiate the process of ouster after the IPL finals. Earlier in the day in Mumbai, he made it clear that he has no intention of resigning as he has done nothing wrong. "I can't be bulldozed or railroaded into resigning. Some sources are trying (to put) pressure now. There is no question of it (resigning)," Srinivasan told reporters outside the Mumbai airport.
The 68-year-old cricket board chief, who has been facing mounting pressure to quit, said BCCI would follow strictly all its rules and law will take its course. However, sources in the BCCI say that a section of the Board may be grouping up against the beleaguered chief and seek his suspension if not immediate removal following the embarrassing arrest of his son-in-law by Mumbai Police on charges of betting on IPL games.
Friday night's arrest and a litany of accusations of conflict of interest against Srinivasan over the years have pushed him to a corner though he is defiant despite the latest developments. Sources said some Board officials are planning to initiate the process to oust him by at least getting him suspended.
Some would prefer to replace him by former BCCI President Shashank Manohar, who has a clean image as an interim arrangement. Some other names including former Shivlal Yadav, representing Hyderabad Cricket Association, are being mentioned as possible replacement.
The move may gather steam after the IPL final in Kolkata on Sunday where the BCCI officials could meet informally to discuss the situation. They may also talk to Srinivasan who is expected in Kolkata in a bid to persuade him to choose an honourable exit route.
The term of Srinivasan ends in September this year and under an amended rule he can continue till next year September. But under the present circumstances, such a scenario looks far from remote. Top BCCI sources said Srinivasan has given no indications of resigning as yet though such a possibility cannot be ruled out in the present context.
Meanwhile, Gurunath's arrest has raised questions over the continuance of Chennai Super Kings but as yet there seems to be no threat to the team playing the final on Sunday. Sources said right now there was no such proposal, including scrapping the franchise of CSK since the charges against Gurunath have been levelled by the police and are yet to be scrutinised by judiciary.
Meanwhile, Gurunath was remanded to five days police custody by a court in Mumbai which was told by police that he used to place huge bets on IPL matches after fixing the game. The CSK Team Principal, armed with inside information about the Chennai franchise, shared those with bookies to make money, Mumbai crime branch, probing the raging betting scandal, told the court.
On the field CSK skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni skipped his pre-final press conference which was addressed by coach Stephen Fleming. Fleming said all the players and support staff were distressed but the team was focussed on tomorrow's final. He said the team was proud of the way it had played in all the six seasons.
Incidentally, rival Mumbai Indian skipper Rohit Sharma also did not address the pre-match press conference. Waking up to the problem of alleged match-fixing in cricket, government today announced that a new stand-alone law to deal with such "dishonest practices" in all kinds of sports will be enacted soon.
Law Minister Kapil Sibal said the new law was favoured by Attorney General GE Vahanvati as activities like match-fixing or spot-fixing are not covered under the present laws. He told a press conference that the "dishonest practices like match-fixing and spot-fixing" need to be dealt with in a "holistic manner" and the new law was favoured instead of mere amendments to the Indian Penal Code. "The first draft of the new law will be ready in three to four days," he said, adding it will then be sent to the Sports Ministry for further consultations and opinions of experts.
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