Just a couple of days ago, my attention was drawn to a piece in The Hindu in 2011. I refer here to this piece (The right moves) which quotes Gurunath Meiyappan extensively and makes for a truly interesting read.
Take for example this quote attributed to Gurunath in the article, "Before every game, Dhoni, Fleming and I exchange our elevens at 5.45 p.m. (for the night matches). Fleming and I spent countless hours in the lead-up to the auction. In the last three days, we conducted mock auctions, picked around 45 different combinations.’’ Nothing sums up Gurunath’s involvement more than these quotes and that too from the man himself. Yet two years later there were clumsy attempts to camouflage his role at CSK by changing his Twitter bio and removing YouTube links etc., with his father-in-law famously calling him an enthusiastic fan.
But today as Indian and world cricket stand at a crossroads, an important date awaits us all, as the Supreme Court takes the case to its logical conclusion starting 16 April, 2014. For the last two years all the allegations and questioning around the IPL has arisen during N Srinivasan's reign as BCCI President. First, it was a lot of domestic players banned for being caught in a sting operation by India TV in 2012. Then you have the arrests of Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila in 2013, followed by the arrests of Vindoo Dara Singh and Gurunath Meiyappan.
The fact that these happened under his watch and included his family member, namely Gurunath automatically triggered the BCCI Anti Corruption code 2.5.2, which categorically states that any participant that authorises, causes, knowingly assists, encourages, aids, abets, covers up or is otherwise complicit in any acts or omissions of the type described in Articles 2.1 – 2.4 committed by his/her coach, trainer, manager, agent, family member, guest or other affiliate or associate shall be treated as having committed such acts or omissions himself and shall be liable accordingly under this Anti-Corruption Code. How should we interpret this clause now? Especially since Gurunath has not only been accused of betting thus far, but has been charge sheeted for cheating as well as betting. Both of which are a crimes under Indian law. If all of the above reasons are not reason enough - then what is?
Srinivasan - The Godfather has made a number of submissions on Tuesday to the court asking himself to be reinstated as BCCI President. In what is the ultimate conflict of interest, Srinivasan has manipulated every source available to him within the BCCI to save Gurunath and his team, Chennai Super Kings.
He first tried to cover up the matter and when it blew up in his face, he tried to label his son-in-law as a mere enthusiast. Once cornered he claimed in a plea to the Supreme Court that he did not mention the words “cricket enthusiast” in his deposition to the respected retired Justice Mudgal. He set up two eyewash investigations from within the BCCI, both of which declared Srinivasan and Gurunath clean and not guilty of any wrong doing. But the judicial authorities clearly felt there was more and found more pieces of evidence against Gurunath. If that is not a case of blatant misuse of power, I do not know what is?
Even if we assume that Srinivasan did not lie in the above instances, what about the clumsy attempts to change Gurunath’s bio on Twitter? Wasn’t that a laughable approach? Srinivasan’s writ runs large, hence the Indian captain MS Dhoni jumped in to testify in front of the Mudgal committee that Gurunath was a mere enthusiast. It is the fear of angering or doing things against Srinivasan that caused no less a person than the captain of the Indian cricket team - MS Dhoni to mention these things. And if your are still left wondering for any other examples of conflict of interest, then here they are. Dhoni testified to Mudgal Committee and misled the committee. Dhoni is employed by India Cements (you are Managing Director) and so are dozens of other BCCI employees.
Kashi Vishwanathan, Prasanna Kannan, Satheesh are all in various positions in the BCCI thanks to their association with Srinivasan. It tips the scales of coincidence that only India Cements employees are suited for key BCCI and IPL roles whether as appointments or replacements. It all boils down to intent. No independent action is possible against any of the guilty people with him being at helm of BCCI. The root cause for all ills of IPL is the conflict of interest of the Godfather.
The SC order clearly stated that India Cements cannot be involved in Indian cricket in anyway. Yet in complete defiance, The Godfather attended an ICC meet and cocked a snook at all and sundry. What was Sundar Raman doing in the ICC meeting when there was a question mark over his involvement in the IPL itself? In his petition to the Supreme Court, Srinivasan claims that there is no provision for an interim BCCI President in their constitution. So do tell us why and how did you appoint Jagmohan Dalmiya as interim BCCI chief in June of 2013 when you last 'stepped aside'?
Can you Mr Srinivasan deny that under your Presidentship, the ACSU was unable to function fairly and ensure that bookies do not gain entry to franchise boxes or for that matter the stadium. Case in point is these images of Vindoo – a known bookie to the ACSU also – in the stadium and hobnobbing with franchise owners and officials. Where were you when your COO Sundar Raman was introducing bookies like Vindoo to your son-in-law, Gurunath at parties? Don’t you think as franchise owner and as BCCI official in various capacities (Treasurer, Secretary and President) you had an edge over other franchises at auctions? Srinivasan makes a pitch to reclaim power by pointing out ills in the BCCI system run by him. Allegations about mismanagement and complete disregard of the work put in by eminent personalities like Madhavrao Scindia, Sharad Pawar, IS Bindra and Shashank Manohar, form the crux of the Srinivasan defence.
Even if you assume that there was an issue in the way in which the things were managed, does an eye for an eye solve the problem or will it leave the whole world blind? That is something that needs to be sorted in the courtroom, before action moves to the field in the United Arab Emirates.