IPL’s credibility takes yet another hit with the Mudgal report. Will the BCCI act now?
The Justice Mukul Mudgal-headed probe panel makes it clear that Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra had a lot more to win and lose than points on the league table as they sat in the dugout, cheering their teams. By betting on games that involved their teams, and in Gurunath’s case, passing information to bookies, they dealt a crippling blow to the credibility of the league, a violation that should see their sides — the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals — scratched off the IPL roster. That’s what the rule book says.
But then, the BCCI has not been known to scrupulously follow rules. They tweaked the constitution and tossed aside the “conflict of interest” pages to enable BCCI president N. Srinivasan, then treasurer, to own the Chennai franchise. And with erstwhile IPL chief Lalit Modi’s family and friends pocketing Rajasthan Royals, the Indian Parivar League was complete. Other than nailing the black sheep of the IPL family and raising the conflict of interest issue, the Mudgal report hints at a player-bookie nexus, underworld links, fixed games and loosely defined ownership rules.
Deaf to this din, however, the IPL’s cosy club is busy with Wednesday’s Season 7 auction, which is all set to shower millions on the next big slam-bang star. Basically, a league that was formed by compromising basic principles of good governance and ethical practices, is paying the price for the lack of vision, or even the greed of undeserving gains, of its founding fathers. With Modi’s downfall, the Rajasthan Royals spot-fixing scandal and now this report, the BCCI has had ample opportunity to set its house in order. But those opportunities haven’t been seized.
Srinivasan has been deservedly applauded by BCCI members, among other proud Indians, for the changed power equation that has increased India’s influence in world cricket. But again, while celebrating their increased pie, not many in the board pay attention to the dirt accumulating under the carpet. Despite the damaging report, there haven’t been voices from within the board asking Srinivasan to either step down as the BCCI chief or to give up the CSK ownership.
There isn’t even a whisper on disqualifying the Chennai and Jaipur franchise. This, from a board that has heavyweight politicians cutting across party lines, including a prime ministerial candidate who is puzzlingly silent on the crisis that threatens to cast a shadow over the nation’s biggest passion.