The court then observed, "If we strictly stick to your line
of argument then both the parties (Zee and ESS) would be ineligible."
Responding to the court's observation, Salve, while agreeing with
the point made by the bench, drew attention to the fact that none
of the parties, and that includes Prasar Bharti, would "strictly
speaking" be eligible to get the telecast rights as all were
merely licensees and hire production units to telecast matches.
Moving on to another issue, Salve pointed out that PriceWaterhouse
Coopers, which had been assigned the task of vetting the bids, was
the global auditor of ESPN and had a conflict of interest. “PwC
had not sent any reply to Zee on its inquiries. But ESPN had got
a response from PwC in a letter on September 6,” Salve said.
India has emerged as the largest commercial market for cricket
and accounts for 80 per cent of the worldwide revenue for the sport.
BCCI has put up tenders and an Indian-owned company with a homegrown
network with large production facilities has bid. “Let’s not miss
the wood for the trees,” he said. “The public interest has suffered.
ESPN has put no argument saying that it has been detrimental to
public interest. They are only working for their interest and monopoly.”
Earlier, ESPN's counsel Iqbal Chaggla, referring to SAB TV's argument
about ESS being a foreign entity in an intervention application
filed yesterday, told the court that even Zee has its registered
offices in countries like the USA and United Kingdom. Chaggla argued
that company's licence was under Zee TV, USA.
BCCI TO HONOUR COURT DIKTAT
The working committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India,
which held an emergency meeting in Kolkata yesterday, has decided
to follow the court's diktat that status quo be maintained on the
issue of telecast rights.
This rules out any further moves on the part of the BCCI to offer
the piecemeal rights of the upcoming Australia series to national
In its submission to the court today, the BCCI sought time for
arguments and the court told it to put forward its submissions on
Monday when its counsel, KK Venugopal, is expected to address the
The court has still to look into the maintainability of the writ
filed by ESS and the arguments will continue on Monday at 2:45 pm.
The court has also allowed the intervention application filed by
This of course raises the question of whether the court will be
able to deliver its verdict on the matter by next week because time
is running out for all the parties to the dispute.
TV counsel Ram Jethmalani questions ESS' eligibility