What novelist F Scott Fitzgerald said, ‘There are no second acts in American lives’, doesn’t stand for Indian lives. As there are many acts and takes here. Most recent one was the resurrection of Jagmohan Dalmiya after being expelled from the world’s richest cricketing board, the BCCI few years ago. Same can be said for N Srinivasan, who for the moment has stepped aside in the backdrop of IPL controversy where the clamour for his resignation is growing.
The present controversy for those who saw N Srinivasan making a comeback 11 years after he was caught in another controversy may look like a recap of what happened in the year 1979 when he was the joint managing director of India Cement wherein allegations were made against him about unseemly transaction with a vendor.
Remaining true to his nature, Srinivasan at that time stalled the proceedings that sought his resignation, refusing to submit under pressure. And it was an extraordinary general body meeting in Chennai that did him in. But he staged a comeback 11 years later more by vengeance than by vindication.
So what does his stepping aside mean this time around? Does it mean an end of innings for Srinivasan? And more importantly how much power has been abridged? While Srinivasan is reported to have suggested that this interim arrangement should be for a month, the Jaitley-Shukla camp has claimed that there is hardly any chance of his return.
So who will represent India at ICC when the probe into the betting-fixing scandal and Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan’s alleged role in it isn’t likely to end in less than two months. This also raises a crucial question – What is Jagmohan Dalmiya’s legal position as the interim president of the board? Will the working group headed by Dalmiya be empowered to pick a replacement for Srinivasan till the probe ends?
The two big questions hanging over BCCI’s head are - will the panel appointed by it conduct a fair investigation into the alleged activities of Srinivasan’s kin and will the committee question him directly about Gurunath’s involvement with the Chennai Super Kings franchise?
Also in the two-and-a-half-hour meeting called by him there wasn’t even a mention of the real problem, instead there was a bizarre appointment of the probe panel to investigate the IPL. Of the five-member panel, three were BCCI vice-president Arun Jaitley, IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla and commentator Ravi Shastri. Now, how would one see these three men as investigators where they have to investigate the tournament which they themselves govern? Nothing but as conflict of interest.
For many, Srinivasan will be calling shots from Dalmiya’s mouth and his return as the president of the BCCI would be déjà vu if he doesn’t resign.
But where do the fans’ views lie amidst this pool of corruption - whose enthusiasm supports the game in the country. The latest controversy has hurt Indian cricket for sure.