Millennium Post

Pawar play: How long can BCCI boss face the heat?

Despite rising pressure on him from all quarters to quit as BCCI president, an adamant N Srinivasan clinged on to his chair with all he could on Wednesday. But it seems, the bull run is about to end.

The latest big name to join the bandwagon for his ouster was ex-ICC and BCCI chief and NCP president Sharad Pawar, who demanded a home ministry inquiry into all 75 matches matches played in the scandal-hit IPL-6.

Stressing that not doing so will give an impression that BCCI isn’t serious about dealing with corruption in the sport, Pawar said, ‘If BCCI gives in writing to the home minister (who, by the way, is yet to complete his US sojourn) and request to investigate all the matches, the government can probe them. They can interrogate anybody as they have legal sanction,’ Pawar said.

‘If, however, BCCI doesn’t accept it and says its own anti-corruption unit will do the job, I feel the board is not serious in dealing with the wrongdoings,’ he added. With several top government and opposition leaders holding lucrative positions in different state cricket bodies, which are affiliated to BCCI, the pressure to step down till the probe is over is monumental.

On Wednesday, even the sports ministry, headed by Jitendra Singh, sought Srinivasan’s ouster. ‘BCCI is inquiring into allegations of match and spot-fixing. As there is a conflict of interest in this inquiry, BCCI president should tender his resignation on moral grounds, pending the outcome of the inquiry,’ the ministry said in a statement.

The demand for Srinivasan’s resignation got a strong push in the afternoon when IPL chairman and union minister Rajiv Shukla told the media at 1 pm that Srinivasan should distance himself from the board. However, after meeting Srinivasan at 3 pm, Shukla took a 180-degree turn, saying, ‘He should distance himself from the probe, to be conducted by a three-member committee comprising T Jayaram Chouta, ex- judge of Karnataka and Madras High Courts, R Balasubramanian, ex-judge of Madras High Court, and BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale.’

The man in question, however, presented an expressionless face when quizzed about his stand in the entire fixing saga, continuing his streak of defense by refusing to step down. ‘I saw Shukla’s interview. What he says is this commission has been appointed and I should disassociate myself from the procedure as stated in Kolkata when I did the press conference,’ Srinivasan said. Perhaps he made Shukla see a repeat telecast to change his stand!
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