EVEN as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) get into a huddle to figure out a solution for the quandary that the Lodha committee’s verdict has left them with, a former president has lashed out against his former colleagues while insisting that they had no option but to heed to the recommendations. Manohar, who was in-charge during the fledgling years of the IPL — from 2008 to 2011 — also insisted that following the 2013 spot-fixing scandal, all matches of the glitzy T20 league should come under a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry. The Nagpur-based former BCCI honcho also took umbrage to his former confidant and successor, N Srinivasan — who was the secretary during Manohar’s reign — calling him the ‘root of all scandal’.
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The IPL Governing Council (GC) is scheduled to meet at the BCCI headquarters in Mumbai on Sunday for an all-important meeting, where they will decide upon their future course of action in the aftermath of the suspensions laid upon Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) by the Lodha committee. Manohar, meanwhile, was in Kolkata to meet incumbent BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya, whose faction he had incidentally rivalled a decade ago. It is learnt that he’s requested Dalmiya to get a lot more involved in the decision-making of the BCCI in a bid to improve the image of the under-pressure board.
“There has been no action from BCCI to clean the mess and the board’s work is done by the court. The BCCI has to be proactive and look at the interest of the institution and not that of an individual in order to re-impose faith in the minds of the people,” Manohar said in a TV interview.
“Srinivasan should have stepped down in 2013, no individual is ahead of institution and he too is the root of all scandal and should immediately step down from his position as chairman of ICC,” he added.
While the Lodha committee rendered out life bans to Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra, along with the two-year suspensions to their respective franchises, the Supreme Court-appointed commission is also expected to probe into the allegations against IPL COO Sundar Raman. On Tuesday, Lodha had revealed that the investigations were still on in that matter, and that the judgement was still a few months away. Manohar, who was in-charge when former IPL chairman and Raman’s boss, Lalit Modi, was unceremoniously ousted from the BCCI back in 2010, believed that the COO too should have stepped down.
“Raman should have gone immediately after the Mudgal Committee report found him prima facie guilty of wrongdoings. He ought to have stepped down immediately at that time. Now, to restore the faith of people in IPL and the game, Raman needs to go,” he said.
CBI should probe
While reiterating that the BCCI had failed in their duty to curb corruption, Manohar has called for the CBI to take over the probe into the spot-fixing allegations against players and team owners alike if the IPL had to lift its tainted image.
“According to me, a probe by an independent body like the CBI is required. Because, the BCCI does not have investigating powers. It is only the CBI which has the investigative power all over India, including in different states,” he said.
“IPL is a fine product and it needs to go on. But it should be a clean tournament and the mess will have to be cleaned up,” added Manohar.
The biggest concern for the GC and the BCCI is dealing with the two spots left vacant in the originally eight-team league by the two suspended franchises. And speculation has been rife about what choices they have in store to find a quick fix. While many experts have indicated that they might introduce two fresh teams into the league via an auction, there have been reports that suggest that the BCCI might be keen in adopting the two franchises and running them while the original owners serve the suspension. But Manohar was quick to dismiss these suggestions, insisting that any such adoption plans would be against the rules.
“If you ask me my personal opinion, the BCCI cannot adopt the teams because the rules and regulations of the Board did not permit to do so,” he said.
“Moreover, will a BCCI official sit at the player auction and bid for players. It will be again conflict of interest and the public perception on this issue is really bad. Then you will bring back the two teams on a platter, I don’t think it can be done,” added Manohar.
Days after delivering his committee’s verdict which left many confused over the future of the franchises, Justice Lodha had hinted that the BCCI had the power to terminate the contracts with CSK and RR based on the findings of the Supreme Court. Manohar though was non-committal on the issue, but did insist that no injustice had been done to the two teams.
“Their players can be accommodated to other teams in a fresh auction,” he added.
Manohar had seen the IPL grow from an ambitious venture to a money-spinning extravaganza during his days at the helm of the BCCI’s affairs. And he is confident that the IPL can retain its gloried reputation if the BCCI were to take more stringent action on those responsible for its disgrace. “I have told Dalmiya whatever I felt should be done. Now it’s up to the BCCI to take measures,” he said.
Dalmiya to skip IPL governing body meeting
Mumbai: BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya,will not be attending Sunday’s crucial IPL governing council meeting in Mumbai. “Dalmiya is not going to attend the meeting in Mumbai. Rajeev Shukla (IPL chairman) had already met him and discussed the way forward and the secretary (Anurag Thakur), who will convene the meeting, is also in touch,” a source said.
The IPL governing council, headed by Shukla, had called an emergent meeting in Mumbai on Sunday to weigh various options ahead of the next edition of the T20 league after the Supreme Court-appointed panel headed by former Chief Justice of India, R M Lodha, suspended former champions Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for two years for betting by their respective top officials.
The storm was triggered by the suspension of CSK and RR and their top officials Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra. Meiyappan, a former Team Principal of India Cements Ltd(ICL)-owned franchise CSK and Kundra, co-owner of Jaipur IPL that runs Rajasthan. (ENS)