SC stops money flow from BCCI to state cricket units

SC re­frains from re­mov­ing BCCI bosses, but tight­ens screws

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court barred the In­dian cricket board on Fri­day from re­leas­ing funds to state units and di­rected those who have re­ceived money not to use it un­til they agree to im­ple­ment the Lodha panel’s rec­om­men­da­tions on re­forms “in let­ter and spirit”.

Is­su­ing an in­terim or­der af­ter the Board of Con­trol for Cricket in In­dia (BCCI) re­fused to pro­vide as­sur­ance that it would com­ply with the panel’s di­rec­tives, the court said 13 state units that re­ceived money on Septem­ber 30 will keep it in a fixed de­posit un­til they give the af­fi­davit.

The SC didn’t or­der the BCCI top brass to step aside as an­tic­i­pated, but struck a blow by freez­ing funds to force the state units to fall in line, which could po­ten­tially force the par­ent body to end its de­fi­ance.

Fri­day’s or­der was the lat­est in the face-off be­tween the ju­di­ciary and the BCCI which has been ac­cused of cherry-pick­ing di­rec­tives made by the Supreme Court-ap­pointed panel.

The BCCI’s re­fusal to ac­cept the re­forms has wors­ened the stand-off with the apex court and threat­ened to dis­rupt In­dia’s most pop­u­lar sport.

How­ever, the fund freeze may not af­fect the state units’ func­tion­ing im­me­di­ately as they are be­lieved to have sub­stan­tial money in their ac­counts with the BCCI hav­ing re­leased huge sums in Au­gust. But the on­go­ing Ranji Tro­phy tour­na­ment could be dis­rupted if they plead fi­nan­cial crunch.

Warn­ing the board of pre­cip­i­tat­ing the is­sue fur­ther, the bench or­dered BCCI pres­i­dent Anurag Thakur to ex­plain whether he had asked the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil for a let­ter to state that the Lodha panel’s sug­ges­tions tan­ta­mount to govern­ment in­ter­fer­ence in the work­ing of the In­dian board and could lead to its dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion from in­ter­na­tional cricket.

Af­ter the or­der was pro­nounced, BCCI’s coun­sel said the board was not run­ning away from the re­forms but faced tech­ni­cal im­ped­i­ments.

“We will re­move all the tech­ni­cal im­ped­i­ments. It’s not pleas­ant for us,” the bench replied, giv­ing the board time till Oc­to­ber 17 to file an af­fi­davit.

BCCI­gen­eral­man­ager(cricket oper­a­tion), Rat­nakar Shetty, was also di­rected to file an af­fi­davit dis­clos­ing who au­tho­rised him to file doc­u­ments on be­half of the board be­fore the panel.

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