Step down and asidehttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/step-down-and-aside/

Step down and aside

For the sake of a fair IPL probe,N. Srinivasan and Rajiv Shukla must go

For the sake of a fair IPL probe,N. Srinivasan and Rajiv Shukla must go

The BCCI’s immediate response to IPL’s biggest crisis was a role reversal. In the wake of the spot-fixing scandal,BCCI president N. Srinivasan,otherwise reticent,offered several lengthy explanations before announcing an internal inquiry. All this while,the spotlight-courting IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla was mostly unforthcoming. A more appropriate reaction from a better- governed institution would have been the implementation of a role change of another kind. What was required — and still is the call of the moment — is that both men with powerful additional portfolios that could arguably impede and influence the possibilities of a systematic IPL clean-up,must resign.

As a franchise owner,and as someone closely related to an individual now under the scanner for deals and dalliances with dubious bookmakers,Srinivasan needs to step down from the helm of the BCCI. Shukla,under whose watch the league faces its biggest crisis of credibility,has also lost the moral right to stride to the podium to hand out the silverware to winners on match days. By all accounts,the parliamentarian and minister has squarely put himself in the way of charges of taking his eyes off the ball and conflict of interest allegations. Srinivasan and Shukla should be kept away from the entire probe. They might be the BCCI’s longstanding decision-makers,but in this moment they should be treated as a team owner and chairman of a troubled league,respectively,that is facing a predicament which could sully the reputation of the game. Those who need to answer the tough questions cannot also qualify to sit on the jury.

The founding fathers of organised cricket in the country had inserted a clause in the BCCI’s constitution that didn’t allow its members to feed off the commercial interest from games conducted by the board. In 2008,with Srinivasan keen to be part of the million-dollar league,the BCCI made changes to the constitution. The line now reads: No administrator shall have directly or indirectly any commercial interest in any of the events of the BCCI,excluding IPL,Champions League and Twenty20. For far too long,there have been whispers that Srinivasan may have used his office to lend a helping hand to his side,Chennai Super Kings. There have been allegations of the bending of auction rules to corner the big stars. And of match officials making decisions based on considerations of fear and favour. Those allegations have just grown more serious. For the probe to be fair,it needs neutral judges.