Justice AK Patnaik, who had knocked out strongman N. Srinivasan as the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in 2014 in the wake of the Indian Premier League (IPL) betting and match-fixing scandal, said Sourav Ganguly must step down as the president once his term comes to an end as per the new board constitution. (More Cricket News)
Justice Patnaik, who retired in 2014, headed a Supreme Court bench that started hearing the 2013 IPL betting and fixing scandal involving Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals. The case, which is still active and forms the bedrock of all BCCI related litigation, saw a Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators run the board for almost three years.
In October last year, the BCCI elected Ganguly, Jay Shah and Arun Singh Dhumal as president, secretary and treasurer, respectively. According to the new BCCI constitution, approved by the Supreme Court in August 2018, the president and secretary each would have less than one-third of one full term of three years. Shah is the son of Union Home minister Amit Shah while Dhumal is the brother of Finance minister Anurag Thakur.
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The new BCCI constitution stipulates that Shah and Ganguly must undertake a three-year cooling-off period because they have been in cricket administration at a state body or BCCI or combined for six years on-the-trot. Effectively, Shah’s innings as BCCI secretary had ended in May and Ganguly has less than a week remaining. Shah continues to attend BCCI meetings.
“If the rule book says Ganguly and Shah have to cool off, then they should just go. Nobody is indispensable,” Justice Patnaik told Outlook on Monday. In April, the BCCI filed an application in Supreme Court asking that the cooling-off period be waived off. The apex court has not reacted to that appeal so far.
The hard-talking, no-nonsense Justice Patnaik said BCCI “must not be allowed to go back to its old ways.” Saying that the “cooling off period should remain,” Justice Patnaik said now it all depends on how the Supreme Court handled the matter.
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“If somebody continues for long, he develops an interest in the organisation. Once the person develops interest in the organisation, then that organisation is gone. It is happening in our country and in different spheres. It is happening in political parties,” said the 71-year-old Patnaik.
Patnaik said the idea behind asking “powerful” people like Srinivasan to step aside was to enable cricketers to come to the forefront of the game’s administration.
“I was very happy to see Ganguly becoming president but now they are asking for changes (in the Lodha reforms) and the political people have come in again. So this is not what we had envisioned. We never wanted people who loved power and position and with no interest in the institution to run sport,” said Justice Patnaik.