What did Jagmohan Dalmiya do to earn the wrath of a group of people who once obeyed him? Well, not all of the 29 who voted against him at Saturday's special general meeting in Jaipur were obedient during his reign at the BCCI, but most of them were.
Ask some of them and all will say that the discrepancies found by the board's investigating team were too glaring. The disciplinary committee claimed that around Rs 40 crore was missing from the 1996 World Cup organising committee's accounts and felt the explanations it got were incomplete.
“He never surrendered the accounts, even the treasurer didn't have a clue. Some absurd amounts have been shown as travel allowances for lawyers and all that. How could you let this go unpunished?” said a board member who was once a Dalmiya loyalist but supported the move to expel him for life.
And this, said a veteran of BCCI manoeuvres, was bound to happen. “Like in politics, you must build a core team that will help you in times of trouble. Despite being an exceptionally shrewd individual, he never cared about this,” said the member, swinging with the tide of the day.
Having been with Dalmiya till Sharad Pawar came to power, this member felt Dalmiya had played another card wrong. “Even if you don't give a share of the pie to your detractors in the board, never humiliate them. They will never forget it.”
In a way, that has almost exactly been the case with the man who, life ban notwithstanding, will remain a pioneer in the marketing of cricket. After falling out with his closest ally IS Bindra, Dalmiya got him suspended from the board. He had antagonised a few others too, who have come back with vengeance. And with vendetta on their agenda.
“Financial irregularities are there but that is not the main reason behind this. It's basically a game of settling personal scores. Over the years, his enemies had grown and it was a question of them coming together to make things worse than what he had done to them,” said an East Zone representative who attended the SGM.
There are other reasons to think likewise too. It's impossible to believe that Dalmiya's misdeeds, if any, were unknown till Pawar captured power. Some at least must have known what actually happened but kept quiet. Despite endorsing Saturday's decision to bury Dalmiya, a few members had kept under wraps for years things they are now making public, attaching highly immoral values to them. What had prevented them from doing it when the crime was committed is a question they don't like.
It is probably not a battle of ideals of an institution against individuals who try to undermine them. There is a lot more to it. The biggest asset of the BCCI is its unique ability to get away with a part of the story, doesn't matter who runs it. The Dalmiya episode is probably no different.
Email Atreyo Mukhopadhyay: firstname.lastname@example.org