Even as heavy showers ensured that there was no action at the Eden Gardens on Sunday, elsewhere in Kolkata, the BCCI’s working committee meeting lived up to its acrimonious billing. It is learnt that the meeting also proved to be action-packed as the individuals representing N Srinivasan and Shashank Manohar got into a lengthy squabble. But the power-battles weren’t being fought only within the confines of the board-room.
The media — both social and otherwise — too was abuzz with intrigue and eventually it turned into a day of allegations, counter-allegations, clarifications and more allegations. Thanks mainly to two reports that surfaced, both alleging two senior administrators from opposing factions of having indulged in activities unbecoming of their stature.
Firstly, CNN-IBN reported that the International Cricket Council (ICC) had written to the BCCI about having received unverified information with regards to their secretary, Anurag Thakur, socializing with an alleged bookie. Almost simultaneously, there were also reports, which claimed that former president Srinivasan had allegedly paid crores of the board’s money to a London-based private agency to snoop on his fellow members, and having their phones tapped and emails tracked.
Having his cake
In a letter that was accessed by CNN-IBN, ICC chief executive Dave Richardson had written to BCCI president Jagmohan Dalmiya informing him about the allegations against Thakur being seen with Karan Gilhotra, who was in the ICC ACSU list. The letter was dated April 22, 2015 and also copied to ICC chairman, Srinivasan. Thakur was seen cutting a cake and offering it to Gilhotra in the pictures that were sent to the ICC by a freelance journalist.
“During the 2014 edition of the IPL, unverified information was received by the ICC ACSU that Mr Gilhotra was seen trying to befriend players and support staff during the tournament and that there were rumours (again unverified) about his involvement in betting on cricket,” wrote Richardson in his letter. The South African also added that Ravi Savani, who’s presently serving his notice-period as BCCI ACSU chief, had advised franchises to stop Gilhotra from being entertained by their squad members.
Meanwhile, Srinivasan had allegedly paid Rs 14 crore to an agency to spy on other members, the report claimed while also adding that the board were investigating who authorized him to spend the board’s money for this purpose.
Srinivasan was anyway expected to be under-fire owing to the issue involving the allegedly contentious valuation of the India Cements-owned CSK franchise. While there were arguments from both sides during the BCCI working committee meeting, a press release later in the day revealed that the board would seek ‘further legal opinion on the demerger and transfer of shares of CSK for further action’.
New world order
It is learnt that no word was spoken about either of the two reports alleging Thakur and Srinivasan during the working committee meeting, which otherwise saw the expected tug-of-war for power as the new world order within the BCCI’s offices took charge of proceedings.