– V.N. Balakrishna | March 24, 2014
Ahmedabad | “Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power,” said George Bernard Shaw.
Fools indeed the way Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is run. Perhaps, it was foolish of Delhi police to accuse skipper Hansie Cronje of match-fixing. Perhaps, a clean chit for Cronje would have saved the day for Indian cricket without Mahendra Singh Dhoni having to file Rs. 100-crore damages against two news channels.
Dhoni’s name cropped up in Mudgal report now with Supreme Court as it includes a statement of a Tamil Nadu police officer of internal security division (“Q” branch) Sampath Kumar on the IPL Season 6 match-fixing. Dhoni’s civil suit also charges Sampath Kumar of defaming him.
Zee denies Dhoni’s charges saying it followed Vindu Dara Singh and Sampath Kumar and Justice Mudgal’s revelations to the Supreme Court. Can Zee be guilty of vicarious liability in following a probe instituted by the Supreme Court?
Last year Mohinder Amarnath stunned everyone revealing how BCCI president N. Srinivasan stopped selection committee from sacking Dhoni as Test skipper. No sooner, Dhoni turned out to be vice-president of Srinivasan’s India Cements. Meiyappan and Dhoni are part of the Chennai Super Kings one a Team Principal, other its captain.
Srinivasan says Meiyappan is a “cricket enthusiast” while Dhoni says he has “nothing to do with CSK.” After Dhoni’s name cropping up in Mudgal report, former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi too accused him in a national TV: “Dhoni is involved in the cover-up.”
The lid first blew off after Manoj Prabhakar accused Kapil Dev of offering him Rs 25 lakh to throw a match against Pakistan in 1994. Can someone who led a team to World Cup victory be accused of bribe and foul play? Amid constant muckraking BCCI kept sinking into morass looking more like Board of Cricket Corruption of India.
Sampath Kumar’s original statement being part of Mudgal Committee report raises alarm. He stumbled on“large-scale” betting in IPL matches investigating a fake passport racket. With Kumar stepping on BCCI toes its angry political masters shunted him out to the Railways and then suspended him. What followed was curious intrigue with a bookie Mahendar Randak accusing Kumar of Rs 55 lakh bribe-taking.
Nilay Dutta, one of the three in Mudgal panel, pleaded strongly to the Supreme Court: ‘A totally independent investigating agency may be directed by the Supreme Court to investigate the allegations with full powers under the statutory laws, including the Criminal Procedure Code, which was not available to (Mudgal) Committee given “enough materials exists showing large-scale betting in IPL matches.”’
The onus is now clearly on the Supreme Court to clean the Augean Stables. Even IS Bindra, president of Punjab Cricket Association, had accused a BCCI official of arm-twisting Sri Lankan board to withdraw a report showing anti-corruption regulations being violated during India`s tour of Sri Lanka in 2010.
Things have not changed a wee bit in scam-ridden Indian cricket. A New Zealand columnist Mark Reason wrote a piece called “McCullum deserved better than India’s effort,” saying many lives were given to New Zealand captain by dropping catch after catch in the one-dayers and the Tests played recently. There were 11 missed chances across six innings, including three during that innings of 302, the first of which came when Brendon McCullum was on 9. “Either this Indian team is one of the worst fielding teams in the history of the game or something suspect is going on,” said Reason. There are enough reasons to believe Reason. Even former captain Sourav Ganguly slammed Dhoni’s Test captaincy as “obnoxious.”
All Mudgal has done is throw the ball back into the Supreme Court. Can anyone dare to act against BCCI behemoth which claims to be a private body beyond scrutiny and yet secures tax exemption as a charitable institution?