Apex Court quizzes Srini on conflict of interest

Apex Court quizzes Srini  on conflict of interest

The Supreme Court on Monday quizzed International Cricket Council chairman N Srinivasan over the conflict-of-interest charge levelled against him for playing multiple roles. The apex court said people at the helm have to maintain purity in sports.

A bench of Justices T S Thakur and F M I Kalifullah said it was very difficult to accept Srinivasan's contention that there was no conflict of interest due to his owning IPL team Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and heading the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The court said the conflict of interest is equal to bias, and even though there may be no actual bias in the case, even the likelihood of bias was important.

“Purity of cricket has to be maintained, and all persons at the helm of its affairs should be above suspicion. There should be no scope for anyone to point an accusing finger at you or the BCCI,” the bench told Srinivasan.

“Taking all circumstances in account, it is very difficult to accept your contention that there is no conflict of interest—you being the MD (managing director) of India Cements, India Cements owning CSK, an official of CSK being involved in betting and you heading the BCCI,” the bench told Srinivasan's counsel, senior advocate Kapil Sibal.

Sibal, on his part, maintained that by that standard, conflict of interest was
prevalent in every sphere of activities, and noted that the Hockey Federation and FIFA allowed it.

The bench once again suggested that action on the basis of Justice Mudgal report should be taken by the BCCI, which had to be reconstituted after election.

“The BCCI must be free from any blemish if we allow it to decide,” said the court, wondering who should be allowed to contest the polls, and if a person indicted by the Committee can be allowed to contest.

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