Retired SC judge to arbitrate DC-BCCI row

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday appointed a retired Supreme Court judge as arbitrator to resolve within three months the dispute between the Cricket Board and Deccan Chronicles Holdings Ltd (DCHL) over termination of the company’s IPL franchise Deccan Chargers.

Justice S J Kathawala ordered the appointment of Justice C K Thakkar to mediate after the parties failed to come up with mutually-acceptable names of arbitrators.

The court, however, reserved its order on a plea made by the DCHL to stay the BCCI’s decision taken at its emergency IPL Governing Council meeting in Chennai last week to terminate the contract of the cash-strapped Deccan Chargers.

The court further ordered the DCHL to give a Rs 100-crore bank guarantee to the BCCI within ten days after it passes an order on the former’s petition seeking a stay on termination.

The court had suggested that the BCCI and the DCHL to come out with mutually acceptable names of arbitrators. However, they could not arrive at a consensus on the names, following which the court appointed one of its choices.

Meanwhile, Yes Bank, the financial supporter of DCHL, which had moved a chamber summons seeking intervention in the matter, told the court that it wanted to withdraw its plea.

The court expressed its surprise and pulled up the bank for the flip-flop. “This is not proper,” the judge said.

Yes Bank had put forward three conditions to be met while seeking to intervene in the matter—withdrawal of BCCI’s decision to terminate the franchise, deposit whatever amount is due or receivable by Deccan Chargers in their account with Yes Bank and the release of Rs 41 crore by the BCCI due to Deccan Chargers.

The bank had said if these conditions were not met, the entire exercise of trying to save the franchise would be futile. “If the franchise does not survive and we do not get the money, then what is the use of giving Deccan Chargers Rs 33 crore to clear its dues?” its counsel said.

The court, however, did not pass any order on Yes Bank’s withdrawal plea on Wednesday.

DCHL Counsel Zal Andyarajuna argued that Deccan Chargers had achieved substantial compliance regarding its debt obligations. Since the DCHL and the BCCI could not agree on names of arbitrators, he left it to the court to decide who should mediate in the dispute.

The court earlier ordered the status quo on the termination of the franchise by BCCI.

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