BCCI has invited Kochi Tuskers for a ‘settlement’. But what was brought to the table in Mumbai in no way appeared a serious effort to end to the longstanding court battle. An offer of Rs 440 crores as against a consolidated arbitral award of Rs 698 crore, including the refund of a bank guarantee, which the board had encashed, along with an interest @ 18%.
In a meeting held between BCCI’s office-bearers and the Kochi franchise to arrive at a ‘settlement’ and bring a stop to a longstanding legal battle that’s been on for six years now, board’s acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary told the franchise’s co-owners to “give a discount for the love of the game”, Times of India has reported.
The financially strong BCCI offered Tuskers a shocking Rs 440 crore as ‘settlement’ and then raised it to Rs 460 crore before the appalled co-owners of the franchisee, who were called for a discussion, decided to walk away.
The meeting between Kochi’s co-owners and BCCI was a result of a month-long negotiation that had continued between the two parties to reach a settlement. The matter pertains to four-year arbitration that was awarded to the Tuskers back in 2015 following which BCCI went to the Bombay High Court. The arbitrator ex-Chief Justice of India RC Lahoti has ruled BCCI to pay Tuskers total damages (special and general) of Rs 538 crore, the bank guarantee of Rs 153 crore that lies with the BCCI and 18% interest on the entire amount until the date of realization.
While the Bombay High Court is again expected to hear the matter on July 28, the cricket board had been looking at all options possible to negotiate with the Tuskers, knowing that the arbitration was thoroughly in favour of the franchisee.
Visibly shaken, most of the franchisee co-owners refused to comment on the issue and instead decided to stay silent like they have been the last six years. All that one co-owner, quoted by the TOI as sharing with the publication, was that they had belief “BCCI would do the right thing, if not now then later”.
The BCCI wrongfully terminated Kochi Tuskers back in 2011 on grounds that the arbitration has reckoned to be weak. In doing so, they not only pocketed Kochi’s bank guarantee of Rs153 crore but in addition to it, caused the team’s co-owners a further loss of Rs 153 crore (for having played one season) by way of franchise fee and an additional Rs150 crore by way of player costs, operations and logistics.