The fate of IPL franchise Deccan Chargers will now be decided by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after the Bombay High Court today stayed the status quo order by the court-appointed arbitrator in the former’s termination case.
It is now up to the BCCI to take a final call on considering the offer made by Mumbai-based realty firm Kamla Landmarc to take over Deccan Chargers.
However, Deccan Chargers sources indicated the franchise might explore the option of filing a special leave petition in the apex court. “The termination itself is the subject matter of the arbitration. The court has allowed three months’ time for the arbitration process. Now that the court has allowed the termination, how will the arbitration process take place?” they added.
Kamla Landmarc is believed to have made an offer of Rs 1,100 crore to take over Deccan Chargers. A senior representative of the realty firm, who did not wish to be identified, told Business Standard, “They are quite confident the BCCI will rule in their favour in due course of time. In the meantime, the company has already put in place the necessary funding arrangements by roping in leading banks and financial institutions.” He noted Kamla Landmarc’s bid was quite sound and there was no money mobilised from politicians with whom the company enjoyed a good rapport. The representative said the company carried plenty of goodwill due to its 30-year legacy in the realty sector.
The BCCI had moved an appeal against the order of the arbitrator, which was heard today. After hearing both the parties, the high court stayed the order of the arbitrator. That effectively means the termination of the cash-strapped Deccan Chargers franchise stands.
BCCI sources say the “board will float a tender for a new team and the announcement will be made soon. Now it is up to the BCCI to allow or reject DCHL’s offer of selling the team to Kamla Landmarc.” Sources noted even if the tender process took time, there would be eight teams, as was the situation in the initial seasons.
The BCCI- Deccan Chargers affair has seen several twists and turns. Yesterday, Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd (DCHL), promoter of the Hyderabad-based franchisee, announced it had got a buyer for the franchise in Kamla Landmarc. However, it failed to furnish a bank guarantee of Rs 100 crore and the high court refused it any further extension. That would have resulted in the termination of the contract. But later, the arbitrator, retired Supreme Court judge C K Thakker, held his first meeting with both the parties and passed a status quo order till the next hearing.
The high court had on September 26 appointed the arbitrator to verify whether the termination of the team by the BCCI was valid.
On October 1, the high court had announced its order that if DCHL failed to furnish an unconditional bank guarantee within the set deadline of 10 days, it would lead to the lapsing of the stay order on the termination.
However, DCHL got another extension of three days by the high court earlier this week.
Leading lawyers following the Deccan Chargers case said the arbitration process was on the legality of the termination — whether it was valid or not. If after the arbitration process it was found wrong, the franchise would be compensated monetarily. But the arbitrator could not stay the termination itself, they said.
Deccan Chargers’ contract was terminated by the BCCI on September 14. The BCCI had said the financially troubled DCHL had breached the contract agreement signed in 2008. DCHL has not paid the dues of its players, support staff, associations and other cricket boards.