Mr N Srinivasan is the Managing Director of India Cements. India Cements owns the Chennai Super Kings. CSK is an IPL franchisee. It is answerable to IPL chief Rajeev Shukla who in turn reports to N Srinivasan, the President of the BCCI!
So it is safe to say that Mr Srinivasan reports to himself! Whither conflict of interest? Whither accountability?
TV cum Bollywood actor cum Bigg Boss champion Vindu Dara Singh arrested in the spot-fixing scandal names Gurunath Meiyappan during investigation. Who is Meiyappan? He is the head honcho of CSK. Who is Meiyappan? He is the son-in-law of the above mentioned Mr Srinivasan.
Can Mr Srinivasan order an enquiry against himself? Can he order an enquiry against his son-in-law?
MS Dhoni is the captain of India’s Test, ODI and T20 teams. Dhoni is the captain of CSK. Nothing wrong with that! But Dhoni has been made the Vice President India Cements to conflict matters nicely.
To complete the circle, TV channels keep showing footage of Vindu and Dhoni’s wife Sakshi sitting together during an IPL match. To her credit, Sakshi looks totally at unease with Vindu sitting next to her.
The well-meaning former Sports Minister Ajay Maken tried to reform the BCCI and found he was banging his head against a cement wall.
The wall was made of politicians who hold or have held top cricketing posts in the form of Sharad Pawar (Union Minister), Rajeev Shukla (Union Minister), Arun Jaitley (former minister), Jyotiraditya Scindia (Union Minister), Farooq Abdullah (former J&K CM), the late Vilasrao Deshmukh (former Maharashtra CM)… phew! Conflict of interest anyone?
Reforming the BCCI is like reforming the entire political structure of India. Maken in effect wanted Parliament to pass a bill which in turn would check a mini-parliament!
Then what of the IPL itself? It was the brainchild of a certain Lalit Modi, who also happened to the Executive Director of Godfrey Phillips India. By now it becomes clear that “conflict of interest” seems to be a prerequisite for cricket in India.
Modi’s Wikipedia page says that he was arrested and indicted in the US in 1985. He pleaded guilty and entered a plea bargain which resulted in a suspended two-year sentence.
Before him, the other high profile man of Indian cricket Jagmohan Dalmiya was sacked by the BCCI for misappropriation of funds. Dalmiya took on the BCCI in court and won and today is the President of the Cricket Association of Bengal.
As far as Pawar is concerned, he is the ICC chief and his name has cropped up in the Telgi case, wheat import case, Lavasa case, Nira Radia case…
Of course everyone is innocent till proved guilty.
Everything is skewed in the wonderful world of Indian cricket. Who gets the rights for the IPL telecast? It is SET Max. And what was SET Max before the IPL? It was a Bollywood movie channel. Bollywood and cricket? No conflict of interest there again!
It makes sense probably for the franchisee owners include Shahrukh Khan, Juhi Chawla, Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty.
The end result is that there is absolutely no conflict of interest between politics, cricket, Bollywood and spot fixing!
Just accept that cricket in India is actually part of the entertainment industry and you won’t have any conflict in your mind. You will start relaxing and enjoying it even more.
Someone rightly called IPL a microcosm of India.
The cricketer. The politician. The film star. The businessman. The police. The criminal. The fixer. The underworld don. The journalist. The common man… everybody is present in large numbers here! It’s a maximum!
And there’s a bit of globalization too with all the foreign imports!
Now who will be the next BCCI President?
M Azharuddin seems to be the perfect candidate. He was India captain. He was banned for match-fixing. He got his ban overturned. He married a Bollywood starlet. He is a politician. Perfect!
How about holding a CBI inquiry into the IPL affair? Now the CBI reports to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Manmohan might seek the advice of his Parliamentary Affairs Minister, who also happens to be the IPL chief. Or he might seek the advice of his allies, the NCP and NC. Wait, both are headed by cricket bosses!
Even the DMK now has an IPL connection in the form of Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Meanwhile the BCCI should change its name to Board of Control for Conflict of Interests!
The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.
He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/