oppn parties Former Cricket Boss 'Guilty' of Conflict of Interest

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Former Cricket Boss 'Guilty' of Conflict of Interest

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Finally, N Srinivasan, the erstwhile BCCI boss, has been made to see things as they should be and not as he wants them to be. Srini always wanted to have his cake and eat it too. With impunity, he continued to hold the dual posts of BCCI chief and owner of Chennai Super Kingsâ€â"¢ in the IPL on the back of the rule 6.2.4 inserted in the BCCI constitution that bypassed the conflict of interest charges. The Supreme Court has struck down the rule as illegal, saying that it was in conflict with natural justice. The apex court has called for BCCI elections within 6 weeks of its order, saying that Srini has to make a choice. He can only contest if he gives up the ownership of CSK or if CSK withdraws from the IPL. As things stand, he is barred from contesting. I am sure a person like Srinivasan would now try to maximize his gains by giving up his BCCI fixation and would try to make maximum money from his IPL team. Worst, he could try and control the BCCI by proxy.

But two things go against him. By continuing to hanker after the BCCI post even though the SC had made unflattering remarks about him, Srinivasan has antagonized many people. They have now seen him for what he is: a seeker of power and privileges without having any interest in the benefit of cricket. Secondly, the Court has appointed a committee headed by retired chief justice of the SC, R M Lodha, to find out whether CSK and Rajasthan Royal should stay in the IPL and what changes should be made in the BCCI constitution. As the full import of the SC decision reaches the affiliates who make up the BCCI, one is sure no one will touch Srinivasan with even a barge pole. He is going to become a pariah after this.

One more screw that has been tightened by the SC is the fact that it has found Srinivasanâ€â"¢s son-in-law Meiyappan and Rajasthan Royalâ€â"¢s owner Kundra guilty of betting on the IPL. Since they had privileged team information, theirs is a crime equivalent to insider trading in stock markets. Srinivasan had tried his utmost to protect Meiyappan, even getting M S Dhoni to certify that Meiyappan was in no way connected to CSK. But facts spoke otherwise. Meiyappan was spotted in team dug outs and was present during auctions and other team functions. Although the court has not said that Srini was personally involved in Meiyappanâ€â"¢s wrongdoings, he is guilty of allowing his son-in-law unrestricted access to the team. As BCCI chief, he should have known that if Meiyappan was not connected with the CSK, he had no business to be at all team events, including the auctions.

The East zone was sponsoring Srinivasan this time for the BCCI presidentâ€â"¢s election. Whatever equation Srini had managed with Bengal cricket chief Jagmohan Dalmiya will not remain valid after this court order. Dalmiya is an astute administrator. He is not likely to support Srinivasan anymore. Sharad Pawar, Shashank Manohar and Lalit Modi have already welcomed the SC order. But they are known Srinivasan baiters. As long as Srini has the support of Arun Jaitley, he can hope to salvage something. But is Jaitley still going to support him? One thing is clear, Indian cricket is going to go through a churning process. New alignments will emerge.

The Justice Lodha committee should examine the BCCI constitution in detail and remove all clauses that make it an unaccountable body – a private club of sorts. While it collects huge amounts from the game, no one knows in detail what it does with this money. Also, some way should be devised to make it mandatory for former players of repute to be in the BCCI. These players could be either of international or national level, but they should have played a certain minimum matches and not be someone who played a few matches but knows the right people. There should be 50 percent reservation for former players in the elections to the BCCI posts, right down to the affiliated associations. For the affiliates, the rule should be for players who have played an x number of Ranji trophy matches as all associations will not have former Test or ODI players.

The time has come to set the house of Indian cricket in order. If making money was the only objective, than the BCCI has been doing a great job. But if looking after the game is the main reason of its existence, the Board will get just 5/10 points. The Supreme Court has done well to appoint the Lodha committee. Now it is time for all stakeholders to come forward and help it in revamping the Board so that people like Srinivasan cannot use it for personal gain in future and some amount of public accountability is enforced.