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Time the IPL muck is cleared

Wednesday, 12 February 2014 - 6:00am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

For once, nearly 1.2 billion Indian fans are not surprised to see the lid being blown off the IPL and its colourful patrons including Srinivasan and his 'enthusiastic' son-in-law, Meiyappan. They are grateful to Justice Mudgal for his honest confirmation of the deep muck that exists in IPL, and indeed BCCI.

It is no longer a state secret that Meiyappan was involved in betting and passing on inside information on CSK, and he was definitely a team official, if not the de facto team owner.

The report states that the conflict of interest on Srinivasan holding the post of BCCI chief and ownership of an IPL franchise is a serious issue and needs to be considered by court. It also states that allegations of betting and spot-fixing against other IPL franchise co-owners, Rajasthan Royals' Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty, need to be further investigated.

What is really shocking is the reference to "Indian capped" players, including one who is part of the current team, who are likely to face the heat for their alleged roles in the fixing scandal.

In its report, the committee has said that former BCCI president IS Bindra had also stated that he knew two former reputed Indian players who were allegedly involved in match-fixing.

It is believed that a journalist, who was apparently connected with recording of tapes for a sports magazine, was able to identify the voice of the Indian player and he had also stated that the player was part of the team which played the World Cup and is a member of the team currently.

Reportedly, names of six prominent Indian capped players are available in tapes in connection with dealings with bookies. Two of these prominent Indian capped players have also been named by the former president of BCCI. The report has also referred to the transcripts of the taped conversation between two alleged bookies, Chandresh Jain and Ashwani Aggarwal, in which there are "references to high level fixing of players where the names of two international Indian players were mentioned".

Fans rightly believe that cricket has been misappropriated by the businessmen-politicians combine. If Srinivasan's alleged murky role in the entire fiasco is shameful, the role of his colleagues in BCCI is no less shocking. Like the recent South African somersault to favour BCCI's proposals, Srinivasan got several state associations to change track and support him.

Srinivasan's experience of having been president of Chess Federation in the past has given him an insight into the opposition's future moves, and he quickly pounces on their weaknesses. Six associations, including Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association, and Delhi and District Cricket Association are always in his pocket, and they constantly wag their tails the moment he looks in their direction. Many others are bought over by offering "paid jobs" in various committees!

It is now clear that BCCI is a cosy club of some friends cutting across party lines who go to the extent of affecting cabinet decisions. It is high time that the union government takes unilateral and an immediate decision to take control of cricket in India, both at central and state levels, before it is too late.

Stadiums in different states should be taken over by government-appointed cricket bodies answerable under the RTI Act. Ordinance, rather than legislation, is necessary for implementing provisions of a more stringent sports Bill.

Apart from Justice Mudgal's sound recommendations, it is important that the politician-businessmen nexus is broken. Elections in practically all state associations are a fraud – Srinivasan derives his strength from such administrators. In Delhi this time, the winning president allegedly deposited 2,200 (50 per cent) proxies in his and his brother's name, killing the contest even before it had begun.

A retired High Court judge reportedly got Rs10 lakh for a one day job. We are challenging the polls and the infirm proxies. The politicians find this system to their liking as it serves all purposes. Some of these politicians are ministers with more interest in BCCI than their respective jobs in the heat and dust of politics.

It is time that cricketers across India also raise their voices. Be that as it may – Srinivasan and other enthusiastic office bearers of BCCI who have been supporting this corruption will have to answer, and soon.

(Kirti Azad is a member of the 1983 World Cup winning Indian team. He played in seven Tests and 25 ODIs and is a BJP Member of Parliament)

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