By I. S. Bindra / June 23, 2013
LONDON: The Men in Blue have done us proud again despite the shockingly dismal performance of their counterparts in the boardroom. This morning I met a number of directors on the ICC board at the hotel Hyatt Regency in Birmingham where I had gone to collect hospitality tickets for the match. All of them, without any exception, complimented me for my principled stand on the shenanigans in the BCCI.
I am not sure how many of the worthies will take up the issues in the upcoming meetings during the ICC’s annual conference week commencing tomorrow. More on that subject later.
I don't want to pat myself for saying -- the moment the two-man panel was set up to probe the involvement of board president Narayanswamy Srinivasan in his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan’s alleged betting and spot-fixing in the IPL -- that the whole exercise is a sham and that the legal luminaries in the board have redrafted the jurisprudence by giving the accused the right to choose not only the court in which they want the case heard but also the choice of the judges!
Some cynics sneered at me for making what they thought was an outlandish statement, but I know my board and its officials too well to go wrong. Now the real story is slowly but surely emerging with the terms of reference heavily loaded in favour of the accused.
Asking the two judges to confine their probe strictly to the terms of reference is like telling them to flip through the documents with their hands tied behind their back.
Justice Jayaram Chouta, who heads the panel with Justice R. Balasubramaniam as the other member, made it clear that it is probing “a private matter between BCCI and the 2 IPL Franchises and that there is no access for either the Media or Public to provide evidence. The Probe will depend on whatever evidence is presented by BCCI and no one else!” (Emphasis mine)
This was the gist of a conversation between Mr. Chouta and the Sri Lankan Canadian Mahendra Mapagunaratne, who is internationally known for taking up any cause to promote healthy cricket.
For good measure the judge also told him when asked if there was a secure e-mail ID to which betting or other evidence could be sent, to which Chouta said: “If the Media / public wants a secure email address by an independent Internet Service Provider it is for the BCCI to provide and not for the judges to ask.”
As Mapagunaratne says “this whole saga we were witnessing for the last one month was a private matter ha! I am still in shock!”
But I am not shocked at all since I knew what was coming. I only feel sad and sorry for the board members who are taking all this nonsense lying down without even a whisper of a protest.
Some of my friends must be wondering about Mr. Mapagunaratne and his interest in our board’s affairs. He is an activist who has been fighting the ICC to shed its imperialist tendencies and help cricket expand to make it a truly global sport. If you wish to know more about him, read this report.
A report this morning in the Times of India confirmed Mapagunaratne’s fears.
Justice Chouta told the daily that the evidence “can only be sent to the BCCI. They will go through it and forward it to us as they see fit."
The judge was brutally honest in admitting that the probe panel has not been set up under the Commission of Inquiry Act, and since BCCI has formed the panel, it will work as per the terms and references of the board. So, it will not accept any documents of evidence either from the media or anyone else.
What will be the legal sanctity of the panel’s report? Nothing. It will simply be filed and the board will selectively accept parts of it that suit it and eventually exonerate the presiding deity of the Mutt, that is the ‘stepped-aside board chief’ with the ‘high priest’ (Jaggu Dalmiya) propitiating the last rites.
My prophecy about India’s representatives at the ICC meeting is also proved correct, but what is amusing is that Jaggu doesn’t know whether Srini is going over to London or not, but is sure of attending all the meetings listed, including the ICC board and the board of directors meeting of the ICC Development International (IDI), the ICC’s commercial arm which negotiates the commercial rights for all the ICC events from 2015 to 2019.
Srini on the other hand is merrily planting stories through his poodles to say that he is catching a flight soon after making sure that there is no discordant note at the annual general meeting of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association on Sunday. So much for his confidence in the constituents of his own pocket borough!
As for umpires Decision Review System (DRS), Jaggu says he will think of crossing the bridge when he reaches it and that’s not what one expects from a man who otherwise thunders to set right everything wrong in Indian cricket.
Between Srini and Jaggu they are going to mess up Indian cricket, if they have not done it already.
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