Under-pressure BCCI chief offers to step aside

NEW DELHI Thu Mar 27, 2014 2:57pm IST

BCCI president N. Srinivasan speaks to the media during a news conference in Kolkata May 26, 2013. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files

BCCI president N. Srinivasan speaks to the media during a news conference in Kolkata May 26, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - N. Srinivasan, regarded as the world's most powerful cricket administrator, offered to step down as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday in the wake of a fixing and betting scandal surrounding the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court called on Srinivasan to leave his post at the BCCI to ensure a fair investigation into the scandal in which his son-in-law, Gurunath Meiyappan, has been indicted for illegal betting.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court put forward former captain Sunil Gavaskar as Srinivasan's replacement and said the Chennai and Rajasthan franchises should be kept out of the IPL pending the completion of probe due to their role in the scandal.

The BCCI, whose lawyer told the court that Srinivasan was ready to step aside, has been asked to respond to the proposals on Friday.

Meiyappan was arrested in May last year by Mumbai Police probing illegal betting on the lucrative Twenty20 tournament but was later released on bail. Legal sports betting in India is confined to horse racing.

Local media claimed Meiyappan was chief executive of the Chennai Super Kings but the company that owns the IPL franchise, India Cements, said he was merely a member of team management.

Srinivasan, set to take over as chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) board in July, heads India Cements.

The scandal surfaced when former test bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and two other local cricketers, all playing for the Rajasthan franchise, were arrested on suspicion of taking money to concede a fixed number of runs.

Sreesanth, who had denied any wrongdoing, was subsequently banned for life by the BCCI.

(Reporting by Suchitra Mohanty; Writing by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by John O'Brien)

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