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Indian court orders cricket boss to step aside

March 28, 2014

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s Supreme Court ordered national cricket boss Narayanaswami Srinivasan to step aside on Friday until the completion of an investigation into corruption in the Indian Premier League.

The court warned Srinivasan on Tuesday, but he refused to voluntarily step down as president of the Board of Control of Cricket in India.

The court appointed test great Sunil Gavaskar as temporary president for the duration of the IPL, scheduled to begin on April 16. He will work with another former test cricketer, Shivlal Yadav, a senior vice president.

Srinivasan, due to become chairman of the International Cricket Council in July, was yet to comment on Friday’s decision, but C. Aryama Sundaram, the lawyer representing the BCCI, welcomed the court order.

“We are very glad that the order that has been passed today is in keeping with the proposal which the BCCI itself had given” to the top court, Sundaram said. “The BCCI will not oppose Sunil Gavaskar’s interim appointment.”

Justice A. K. Patnaik said the Supreme Court was not expressing any opinion on the merits of the allegations against Srinivasan until it completes its case on the IPL spot-fixing and betting scandal.

Srinivasan’s position on the BCCI has been considered untenable since a three-member committee, headed by Justice Mukul Mudgal, found Chennai Super Kings team principal Gurunath Meiyappan guilty of being in contact with illegal bookmakers in a report to the Supreme Court.

Meiyappan, Srinivasan’s son-in-law, was indicted last month on charges of betting and passing on information to illegal bookmakers. Meiyappan spent two weeks in jail last year.

Srinivasan said Meiyappan was “just a cricket enthusiast” even though he was seen regularly at players’ auctions and in the team dugout.

A two-member BCCI panel initially cleared Meiyappan last year, but the Bombay High Court said the panel was “illegal and unconstitutional.”

Yadav, a former India offspinner who played under Gavaskar’s captaincy, said he would abide by the court’s order.

Gavaskar will have to discontinue his work as a cricket commentator to avoid any conflict of interest, the court said. However, it ordered that he be adequately compensated by the BCCI for any loss of earnings.

The court also ruled that Gavaskar will have to decide whether to retain IPL Chief Operating Officer Sundar Raman or replace him.

The court also allowed the IPL to go ahead as scheduled.

The court will reconvene on April 16 to continue its investigation into the IPL.

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