IPL: Can cricket ever be fixed?
Will Mudgal report, put under the watchful eye of the Supreme Court, begin the process of uncovering this shadowy game?
Sanjay Kapoor Delhi
Justice Mukul Mudgal’s report on cricket betting and spot fixing scandal does not really say more than what was really known- that IPL is really a scam dressed up as a competitive sport. The report suggests that there is merit in the allegations that Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of Narayanaswami Srinivasan, President, Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI), was truly mixed up in betting and spot fixing. Worse his report also suggests that at least six international players, including one cricketer doing national duty in the disastrous tour to New Zealand, are involved in this spot fixing scandal.
Although the identity of the player has not really been revealed, but there are ample hints that it could be a player from the controversy ridden Srinivasan owned Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Could it be its cricket captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni or his out of form lieutenant, Suresh Raina? From the charge sheet filed by the Mumbai Police against Gurunath, who was jailed for a short while, it is apparent that he was in the loop about how the match will progress. And this information does not come to a person till the time the Captain is on his side. Take for example this incident from Mumbai police’s charge sheet. During the match between Rajasthan Royals and CSK on May 12, 2013, a conversation is available between Meiyappan and Randhawa [Vindoo Dara Singh] where Meiyappan tells Randhawa [that] Chennai Super Kings will score 130-140 runs. Chennai Super Kings scored 141 runs that day. There are numerous such conversations where Gurunath seems to place bet against his own team and winning. Incidentally, he is listed as the Team’s Principal or owner and there is no doubt at all about how he may be controlling the information and outcome of the game. The conduct of Rajasthan Royals and other teams has been found to be extremely dubious. In fact, Raj Kundra, one of the co-owner of Royals escaped police action, but Mudgal report finds him guilty of everything that was wrong with IPL.
These revelations cast a long shadow on the Indian Premier League, which has been seen as serious money spinner for a game that was short on funds. Ever since it started a few years ago, it has been rocked by all kinds of scandals ranging from sex, sleaze to money laundering. Some cheer girls blew the whistle on what happened when the lights went out of the cricket stadium. Lalit Modi, IPL’s first Commissioner who choreographed this colorful league, is a fugitive from justice and is hiding in London. He is accused of embezzlement, money laundering and what have you. Modi physical absence though has not been missed as he is busy tweeting and giving skype interviews to TV channels against Srinivasan and others who have fallen foul of him. Scion of the Modi Empire, he has been demanding that CSK be banned for all its misdeeds. He is though silent about the game the big boys play in the cricket board like Arun Jetley and Rajiv Shukla amongst others. It is only in cricket that both the political parties are on the same side. Bishen Singh Bedi tried his aam admi googly Delhi cricket elections, but found little support.