The Indian Premier League is definitely on in Mumbai. Maharashtra Home Minister Jayant Patil told HT that there would be no problem in holding IPL matches in the State. "We have already discussed this issue with the IPL authorities. They have ensured that the match dates will not clash with the election dates which are April 16, 23 and 30,"he said.
Confusion prevailed on the issue of security cover for the matches with senior officer Director General, Anti Corruption Bureau S Chakravarty, who is in charge for the duration of the elections in the state, categorically ruling out any possibility of extending security to the matches or players till the election process gets over by April 30.
Patil said that Chakravarty's role was limited to the elections. “There will be no disturbance in the election process. The force meant for protection during the elections will not be used for the IPL matches. We will ensure that there would be no problem in dealing with elections security," he insisted.
“My only priority is to conduct fair and peaceful elections. That is my Constututional duty and anything other than that is not relevant to me," Chakravarty had told HT before his boss clarified the issue. “The entire force would be on deputation for the election duty and nothing else.”
Then, Director General of Police (DGP) S S Virk went on record to this paper asserting that allocation of forces for IPL matches can be done if the state government issued a direction to that effect. He said talks were on with BCCI officials "at all levels" to arrive at a decision. He however, made it clear that the match dates would have to be rescheduled in order to ensure availability of police cover for the matches.
Asked if the conduct of the matches during the electioneering phase would increase the security risk, especially in view of the Mumbai attacks and the attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore, Virk said: "Though there is an undercurrent of threat, that does not mean we can not provide security." The contrary views of the two top cops made it difficult to discern the precise stand of the state police till Patil had the final say.
With inputs from political desk