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The rise and fall of 'Jaggu' Dalmiya

The fall from grace for Jagmohan Dalmiya is now complete following his defeat at the BCCI President's election last year.

india Updated: Dec 16, 2006 17:15 IST

The fall from grace for Jagmohan Dalmiya, the once-revered Czar of Indian and world cricket administration, is now complete following his defeat at the BCCI President's election last year.

Dalmiya, who's justfiably credited with bringing in big-time money into the Cricket Board's coffers through mega deal television rights along with his friend-turned-foe Inderjit Singh Bindra, has bit the dust this time.

'Jaggu', as he is called by his friends and foes alike, rose slowly but surely up the ranks of cricket officialdom.

After a humble beginning with his home association - Cricket Association of Bengal - he switched to the BCCI and then went on to occupy the highest administrative position at the International Cricket Council.

In fact, it was during his stint as president of the ICC that the world governing body for the game - which used to occupy a small place at cricket's hallowed Lord's in London - became cash-rich which has resulted in it hiring more staff and then shift its headquarters to Dubai.

Dalmiya's shrewdness in money matters came to the fore when he challenged the likes of MA Chidambaram, then considered the financial wizard in the BCCI, and even questioned the way the funds of the Indian Board were being placed in savings instruments.

This happened at Pune in the early 1980s and then he became the BCCI treasurer in 1983-84. There was no stopping him from that time onwards till his sudden fall from grace. It started with him playing a big part with Bindra in successfully helping the Board host the Reliance World Cup in 1987 jointly with Pakistan with NKP Salve at the helm.

Dalmiya needs to be credited for the enormous amount of money that is flowing into the coffers of cricket in India and in the world (ICC) after he fought a bitter battle with Doordarshan and succeeded in making the government organisation pay for covering the game at the international level.

The shrewd man that he was, it was no wonder when he persuaded the other BCCI members later to give the rights to the same public broadcaster coverage rights for Test and one-day series played in India for a four-year period in the 1990s.

Ironically, now his downfall is also through money matters. He has been alleged to have misappropriated funds during the next World Cup hosted in the sub-continent, in 1996, from the PILCOM accounts (joint organising committee of host nations India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka).

Dalmiya, a business magnate from Kolkata, has always been a good administrator as was shown during his stint at the BCCI, as treasurer first and then secretary initially in the 1990-91 season and then after a two-year gap once again from 1993-94 to 1996-97 when he stepped down to take over the helms of the ICC.

But his critics have also pointed out that it was during his stint as the ICC chief that match-fixing scandal reached its zenith and exploded in his face when the Delhi police stumbled upon telephonic conversations between the late South African captain Hansie Cronje and an illegal Indian bookmaker.

First Published: Dec 16, 2006 17:15 IST