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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Playing on a doctored pitch
Hindustan Times
July 29, 2013
First Published: 22:53 IST(29/7/2013)
Last Updated: 22:56 IST(29/7/2013)

The Indian cricket board bringing its internal probe on the T20 tournament (T20) spot-fixing scandal to a hurried closure has raised more questions than provided answers.

According to information released by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials, the panel of two retired high court judges has found nothing that links the Rajasthan Royals or the Chennai Super Kings (CSK)— the two teams at the heart of the probe — to any wrongdoing.

It has also given a clean chit to India Cements, which owns CSK, and Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra.

India Cements getting off the hook means killing many birds with one stone. It owns the CSK while the biggest impact of the report is that the BCCI president, N Srinivasan, the company’s vice-president and managing director, is now free to regain control of the board.

He was persuaded to keep away from its activities after his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was arrested by the Mumbai police for betting and for links with characters like Vindoo Dara Singh, whom the investigators suspect has been a go-between for bookies.

Mr Meiyappan was announced as the team principal in every CSK forum but was disowned as a mere ‘enthusiast’ by Mr Srinivasan once the allegations began coming in thick and fast.

That de-linking should help Mr Srinivasan make a smooth return and regain his iron grip on the BCCI’s affairs. The IPL governing council meets on August 2 when it is expected to ratify the inquiry report.

While details of the report are awaited, the manner in which the prime actors in the saga have got off will only further damage the credibility of the game and the board. Already the Mumbai police, which has filed criminal charges against Mr Meiyappan, has said the two-man BCCI panel wanted its inputs but never responded after being asked under what legal provision it should provide them.

This has only raised concerns that the inquiry has not gathered all the inputs needed to come to a conclusion.

Thus if the Mumbai police’s charges against Mr Meiyappan stick, they will only dent the image of the board.

Same is the case with Raj Kundra, who was questioned by the Delhi Police after three Royals players — S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan — were arrested for alleged spot-fixing, triggering the scandal. With the Delhi Police preparing to file the charge-sheet, the least BCCI could have done is to wait for that to happen.

Already under the fire for not coming under the ambit of the Right to Information Act, the latest action shows that the BCCI only acts against players but is happy to let administrators get off the hook.

This approach can only damage the credibility of cricket matches, already affected following the spot-fixing revelations.


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