A great Indian drama is unfolding in a Kolkata court and the actors are the most powerful men — now and past — in Indian cricket.
Vicious charges and counter-charges, lengthy court cases, allegations of embezzlement and fraud, of cash-for-votes during many Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) elections, a fight for control of the Rs 1,000-crore Indian cricket board and, that once powerful man’s lone battle to clear his name. Pawarful People
Everyone had written off former Indian cricket supremo Jagmohan Dalmiya but on Wednesday the Calcutta High Court ordered criminal proceedings against six BCCI officials for giving false statements under oath and submitting false documents in court to implicate former board president Jagmohan Dalmiya.
Dalmiya had filed a petition alleging that the six officials — Sharad Pawar, Shashank Manohar, N. Srinivasan, Chirayu Amin, Niranjan Shah and Ratnakar Shetty — had perjured themselves.
The court, which took up the case in March this year, agreed with this. Justice Nadira Pathreya even indicated that the false affidavit had been filed to “mislead the court”.
The seriousness with which the court is looking at this matter is also indicated by the court directing its Registrar-General to file a criminal complaint on its own behalf against the six officials with the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Kolkata.
The offence, if proved, can lead to seven years in jail.
BCCI officials refused to comment. PTI quoted Pawar as saying he didn't know what "the exact decision" was. "Just now I am hearing that such a decision is given by the court. So, unless and until I see the papers, consult our lawyers, I will not be able to answer."
For long, Dalmiya, a former BCCI and International Cricket Council president, has maintained that the current administration has been carrying out a witch-hunt against him, to try and maintain their control over world cricket's most powerful body without challenge.
After a couple of years in the wilderness following his expulsion, Dalmiya's came back to power in the Cricket Association of Bengal elections this summer and even attended the BCCI AGM in Mumbai in end-September.
He was apparently asked to (and accepted) a dinner invitation at outgoing Board president Pawar's home then, leading to some speculation about a thaw in relations. "They basically wanted him to drop the perjury case," a source close to Dalmiya said, "but he said he had to see this through till the end".