Deceit. Deception. Denial. Secret meeting and conspiracies that would put Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to shame and a whole lot of cloak and dagger stuff. Welcome to the secret lair of the BCCI where the sun never rises and Srinivasan is always right.
They say that the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have one. Obviously, that doesn’t apply to the IPL Probe. Or as I like to call it, the BCCI Cover-up.
Every step of the way, the BCCI has been at pains to ensure that everybody knows that whatever wrong doing happened, they weren’t part of it. It happened. But we didn’t do it. They were akin to toddlers denying their involvement in the window that was broken, when they should have been the stern parents.
Except it just wasn’t a window, but the credibility of an entire league, the players that participate in it and the board that governs it.
If the BCCI is a business organization, and cricket is the product, the fans are the primary stakeholders. Obviously, the BCCI isn’t just any business; they do enjoy a monopoly power. They control the product, there are no viable alternatives (hockey, anybody?) so they feel that they can sit tight, twiddle their thumbs and deny any involvement, secure in the knowledge that it is very much a seller’s market. They did nothing at all to let the public know that all possible steps were being taken to get to the root of the problem and eradicate it once and for all. Problem? What problem? Here, have a CSK sticker.
The hard facts are these, 3 Rajasthan Royals players were arrested for spot-fixing, Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra confessed to betting on the results of games, including those involving his team, Gurunath Meiyappan, a top official of the Chennai Super Kings and son-in-law of the BCCI president N Srinivasan, was arrested by the Mumbai Police on charges of cheating, forgery and fraud, and N Srinivasan refused to resign, citing the company line, and I quote him verbatim, ‘I have done nothing wrong’. And that’s not all; Gurunath magically went from being ‘Team Owner’ to ‘Honorary Member’. Tsk tsk, we mustn’t tell lies.
Clearly, it was all a big misunderstanding. Rajiv Shukla the IPL Chairman, Sanjay Jagdale the BCCI Secretary and Ajay Shirke the BCCI Treasurer resigned all at once because they were looking to emulate Rod Marsh, Dennis Lillee and Greg Chappell. Or because they never liked the coffee.
Take your pick; it certainly wasn’t because of the IPL corruption scandal. Niranjan Shah, BCCI Vice-President told us as much, ‘There is no evidence of any wrongdoing found by the judges against Raj Kundra, India Cements and Rajasthan Royals’. There there. All better. Shame on all of us, making such a fuss over so trivial a matter.
Let us talk about those harbingers of justice, truth and fidelity, the fabled internal 3 man panel set up by the BCCI. Actually, there were only 2 of them, Sanjay Jagdale resigned, the panel was not disbanded, nor was he replaced. They probably never had the time. Or money. Or inclination to do so.
At least two people did not know how or when the panel was constituted. Two more were asked for their consent over the phone before they knew what was happening. That’s four out of eight members of the IPL Governing Council who were kept in the dark.
Members in name only, surely the point of a council is to deliberate and discuss together? They probably didn’t want to bore them, how very considerate.
However, let us not fret; this panel was comprised of Justice T Jayaram Chouta, a former judge of the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu High Courts, and Justice R Balasubramanian, former judge of the Tamil Nadu High Court. They got judges. That makes everything all right!
The judges were from Chennai, just a happy coincidence. Nobody knows if Gurunath and Kundra deposed before the panel. We don’t even know who all were questioned. The panel says the police didn’t cooperate, the police say they weren’t asked a question. I say this thing has more holes in it than the Titanic.
So if they never took any police reports into account, what on earth were they doing? Maybe we aren’t giving them enough credit, they conducted an entire investigation without using police reports, but they’re probably mind-readers who channel knowledge from a divine source. Another happy co-inc-incidence.
The investigation, if you can call it that, hasn’t gone down well with the Bombay High Court, ‘The entire incident needs to be reinvestigated’. I agree. After months of arrests, allegations and resignations, we are right where we began, with the Board denying any wrong doing and the fans wishing, hoping and wondering.
According to the BCCI, one of their objectives is to ‘advance and control the game of cricket throughout India’. Maybe they should change it to plausible deniability. That’s obviously the line they’re following.
Except it isn’t plausible.