Indian media: Pressure on Srinivasan

Pressure is mounting on Mr Srinivasan to quit as the chief of India's cricket board, report say Image copyright AP
Image caption Pressure is mounting on Mr Srinivasan to quit as the chief of India's cricket board, report say

Media are urging India's cricket board to "clean up" its act after the Supreme Court told its chief to step down to allow a fair probe into spot-fixing allegations in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

India's Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday said there could be no fair investigation into the allegations of spot-fixing and illegal betting in the IPL unless N Srinivasan, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), stepped down from his position.

Mr Srinivasan, who owns the Chennai Super Kings team, "stepped aside" as BCCI president in June last year after his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was arrested over allegations of betting in the IPL.

Mr Meiyappan has since been released on bail, and Mr Srinivasan has returned as the head of the cricket board. Mr Srinivasan was also elected head of cricket's world body, the International Cricket Council (ICC), in February. Both men strenuously deny any wrongdoing.

Newspapers, however, are scathing in their criticism of Mr Srinivasan and blame him for the "mess" in the BCCI.

The Hindustan Times describes the court verdict a "damning indictment of the man who is seen to have arrogated all powers vested in India's premier sports institution, leading to the current mess".

"The apex court could not have been harsher or clearer in its view of the state of affairs in the BCCI… Whatever changes the SC's directive brings to the power equations within the Board, it presents the BCCI an opportunity to clean up all aspects of its governance. Will it grab the opportunity is the big question?"

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Spot-fixing allegations in the IPL last year sparked widespread anger across India

The Indian Express adds that "this latest and probably darkest hour of Indian cricket has shown that the BCCI president has survived every conflict of interest crisis because of the inability or unwillingness of other members to stand up to him".

The paper hopes the court's intervention will help some BCCI members "grow a spine" and "hopefully, help rescue Indian cricket".

The Tribune feels Mr Srinivisan would have gained some "credibility" had he stepped down when the IPL scandal came to light last year, but now has to "go out in humiliation".

High-voltage contest

Media are also prominently reporting Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal's decision to run for parliament from the holy city of Varanasi in general elections in April and May.

Mr Kejriwal's party shot to prominence in December last year when it made an impressive debut in the Delhi state assembly elections.

Top newspapers feel Varanasi will be "hotly contested" as the AAP chief is set to take on Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate for PM, who is also standing in the city.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Kejriwal's party was born out of a strong anti-corruption movement that swept India two years ago

"Kejriwal to test the water in Varanasi," read The Hindu's headline.

The Pioneer says "the temple town of Varanasi is headed for a high-voltage contest".

Meanwhile, the Election Commission (EC) in Delhi will arrange 2,500 wheelchairs to help over 80,000 disabled people cast their vote in the capital, The Pioneer says.

There will also be sign language experts in polling booths in Delhi for the first time to assist those with hearing problems, the EC says.

Moving on to defence-related news, India has test-fired a nuclear-capable ballistic missile from an underwater platform. The missile has a range of more than 2,000 kilometres (1,242 miles), reports The Business Standard.

The missile, test-fired on Monday in the Bay of Bengal, is the longest range underwater missile developed by India so far, it adds.

And finally, the Madras High Court has asked the government of the southern state of Tamil Nadu to cover the paintings of leaves on small buses running in Chennai until the end of the elections, reports The Times of India.

The paintings became an issue when the Election Commission said they bore an "uncanny resemblance" to the election symbol of the ruling AIADMK regional party, it adds.

The AIADMK chief, J Jayalalitha, criticised the EC, asking if the rising sun, trees with green leaves, hands and cycles should all be covered since they are election symbols of other political parties.

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