Calcutta, Jan. 17: The Player Terms row took a dramatic turn today with India’s 1983 World Cup-winning captain, Kapil Dev, and a member of that history-scripting side, Madanlal, coming together to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in Delhi High Court.
Challenging the terms for the forthcoming World Cup, the PIL has sought the removal of hurdles towards fielding the best Indian team.
[Incidentally, the possibility of a court being moved was indicated in these columns as early as December 21.]
Former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president N.K.P. Salve, former Cricket Association of Bengal chief Siddhartha Shankar Ray, as also former umpires Ram Babu Gupta and S.K. Bansal are the other plaintiffs.
Salve was the BCCI’s top gun in 1983.
Significantly, the respondents include the Union government, specifically the ministry of finance, and the Reserve Bank of India.
The other respondents are the International Cricket Council (ICC), its business arm — the IDI Ltd, the BCCI, Pepsi, LG, Hero Honda, Coca-Cola, TVS Motors, Samsung, Sahara India and Nimbus.
Nimbus, of course, is an associate of Global Cricket Corporation, which holds the marketing rights for ICC events till the 2007 World Cup.
A division bench of the high court, comprising acting Chief Justice D. Gupta and Justice D.D. Ahmed, has already issued notices and the PIL will be heard on Monday.
According to The Telegraph’s sources, the plaintiffs have prayed that all sponsors —the ICC’s as well as the competing individual ones — collectively resolve the dispute.
If that doesn’t materialise and India is either prevented from fielding the best side or a penalty is slapped on the BCCI, then the plaintiffs have prayed for the following:
n That the Indian sponsors of the World Cup be debarred from being associated with the World Cup.
n That the Union government (read: The ministry of finance) be directed to withdraw all tax benefits to the Indian sponsors.
n That the RBI be directed to stop the remittance of any foreign exchange, by the Indian sponsors, towards the World Cup.
The plaintiffs, by the way, were represented by some of the hottest lawyers — Arun Jaitley, Kapil Sibal, Harish Salve and K.K. Venugopal.
Meanwhile, contacted in Calcutta, BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya declined to comment.
“The matter is sub-judice and, so, I can’t say a word,” the BCCI chief insisted, late in the evening.