Television

IPL media rights e-auction plea denied, BCCI-channel 'conflict of interest' interim application allowed

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MUMBAI: The Supreme Court has refused to direct the BCCI to conduct e-auctioning for awarding media rights relating for Indian Premier League(IPL) for the next five years. 

A bench comprising the chief justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chadrachud did not consider the plea of the BJP leader Subramanian Swamy that the ongoing tendering process for awarding media rights for the IPL events be stayed and e-auctioning directed, PTI reported. The IPL matches are scheduled to start in April next year.

Committee of Administrators (COA) senior advocate Parag Tripathi said that the ongoing tender process was a better option as all the bidders put their best bid in a sealed envelope to get the media rights.

Swamy said he wanted to file an interim application highlighting alleged collusion and conflict of interest on behalf of a BCCI functionary who also runs a news channel (an apparent reference to the Congress leader Rajiv Shukla). This plea was allowed by the top court.

The apex court had earlier asked the COA chief Vinod Rai to file an affidavit specifying how the ongoing tender process was better than the e-auction.

The Supreme Court on 28 July sought the response of BCCI on Swamy's plea that e-auction of the media rights should be done to ensure transparency as the rights are to be given for the next five years.

The apex court had last month told the BJP leader that it would think over his plea to accord urgent hearing in the case after Swamy referred to the apex court verdicts to buttress his point that it has been held that auctioning was the best method of awarding contracts.

Swamy had said that the amount involved in the award of IPL media rights was to the tune of Rs 300 billion, and the issue should not be decided in an "opaque" manner.

"This petition prays that the distribution of IPL rights, which is scheduled on 17 July, 2017, should be done in the most transparent mode available, that is via e-auction," his petition had said.

It had alleged that all the activities of Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) were undertaken with "tacit concurrence" of the state governments and the Centre "who are not only fully aware but supportive of the activities of the Board." 

"It is a requirement that non-discriminatory and transparent method with the best international practices must be adopted for distribution of the valuable media rights so as to ensure the maximum revenue in the larger national interest," Swamy's plea had said.

He had alleged that there was a consistent attempt by vested interests to try and build a monopoly by getting the valuable rights in a non-transparent manner.

"Huge money is involved in the valuable rights associated with the game of cricket in India which makes it mandatory to have the auction process robust, completely transparent, in order to maximise revenue and prevent vested interests from making undue gains," Swamy had claimed.

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