Funds-starved BCCI may move SC citing England series urgency

MUMBAI: With England?s tour of India just a day away, the BCCI plans to move the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking an order allowing it to enter into contracts for the sake of Rajkot Test. Saurashtra's premier city is to host the first India-England Test from Wednesday.

The BCCI, as per protocol, has informed the Justice RM Lodha committee that the Supreme Court would be moved because of the urgency with which it needs to act as regards the Rajkot Test.

With the apex court and the Justice Lodha committee disallowing the Board of Control for Cricket in India to use its funds until an independent auditor goes through them, the latter is getting desperate. If the IPL media rights auction had gone ahead as planned, it would have reportedly fetched BCCI around Rs 30,000 crore (US$ 4500 million approx).

BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke told The Telegraph that their hands were tied as the Justice Lodha committee had neither set the threshold limit for them to award contracts nor had it appointed an independent auditor as per the October 21 directions of the Supreme Court. They were, therefore, filing an interim application, he added. Certain basic agreements with specific vendors had to be entered into by the BCCI, and each of them would become a contract.

If the Supreme Court doesn't pass an order allowing BCCI to engage in contracts, which in any case won't be big, then the board does not see how the first Test could be played, Shirke said.

In fact, in its interim application, BCCI would also be praying that the needful be done by the Justice Lodha committee before the start of the second Test in Visakhapatnam from November 17 so that the same issues did not come up again.

The New Indian Express meantime reported that the BCCI will file an urgent petition seeking relaxation on releasing funds to state units that are scheduled to host the five-match Test series. Moreover, the BCCI will also ask the court to allow it to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the England and Wales Cricket Board for the series to go ahead. The BCCI will argue that an adverse decision from the court will force it to call off the series.

Last week, Shirke had written to the Lodha panel seeking directions on signing the MoU with ECB. However the panel informed the board that MoU is not a mandate for the series to go ahead and it cannot release the funds until all the necessary details are furnished.

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