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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Scams and more scams - BCCI suspends 5 players after sting operation

There are scams and more scams.   It was a day when  the former Telecom Minister, Andimuthu Raja walked out of Tihar Central jail, after spending nearly 15 months.  Mr. Raja,  is the main accused in the 2G scam, and  is the last of the 12 accused to get bail. This was the first time since his arrest that he moved a bail application.

Nearer the Capital, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said that financial irregularities were all-pervasive during the five-year tenure of Mayawati and affected practically every segment of the society. Yadav said that over Rs 40,000 crore were misappropriated in schemes ranging from eco parks to the NRHM.  People usually tend to take into account the money spent on a project as its net worth of the scam. But the actual cost of these projects turn out to be much higher, Akhilesh said.  As per the government's estimates, the total worth of scams during the BSP rule is over Rs 40,000 crore, which is almost equal to the annual outlay for the state during 2011 - 2012 and is nearly one-fourth of the state's annual budget of Rs 1.89 lakh crore.  The major scams which had allegedly taken place during the Mayawati regime and are under the SP government's scanner are NRHM scam, toilet scam, elephant statues scam, Noida land scam, High Security Registration Plates (HSRP) tender scam, seed scam, etc. Investigations and inquiries are under way in each of these scams and in 50% of the cases, arrests have also been made leaving hardly any scope of doubt over allegations of misappropriation.

But more than any of these news,  TP Sudhindra, Shalabh Srivastava, Amit Yadav, Monish Mishra, Abhinav Bali were the names most searched for on the web.  Tell me honestly, have you heard of them and have you seen any one of them play – for the uninformed, they are the 5 IPL players suspended by BCCI, following a ‘sting operation’ by a TV channel. 

Sudhindra is a right arm medium pacer from Hyderabad played for Delhi Giants in ICL, now with Deccan Chargers. Last season,he was the top wickettaker in the Ranji Trophy with 40 wickets.  Srivastava also played for Delhi Giants and now with Punjab, was the 3rd highest wicket taker in U19 WC in 2000.   Monish another from ICL – Delhi Giants and now with Pune Warriors, last year came to light with thrashing Muralitharan.   Amit Yadav is yet to make his IPL debut, contracted by Punjab; strangely the other – Bali is not even in any of the present IPL teams.  BCCI have now suspended these 5 after a sting operation alleging corruption until an inquiry into the accusations is conducted.  "The above players would not be entitled to participate in any cricket match played under the aegis of the BCCI while under suspension," N Srinivasan, the BCCI president, said in a statement.  Rajiv Shukla said Ravi Sawani, the former head of the ICC's anti-corruption and security unit (ACSU), will conduct the inquiry.

Srivastava, one of the players accused by the sting, said he was not guilty. "I fail to understand whatever is being said about spot-fixing. Also if they [a TV channel) are showing all the video clips, why aren't they showing the clip where I allegedly am demanding Rs. 10 lakh?" he told NDTV. "The voice in that telephonic conversation is not mine. It is very easy to frame anyone with a doctored audio clip."   India TV, a television channel, showed footage of a player bowling a big no-ball in a limited-overs match and played a recording of a phone conversation that it said was of a current IPL player negotiating a fee for bowling a no-ball. It also had at least three players on camera allegedly seeking more lucrative deals - including extra money that would have violated their IPL contracts - with other league franchises through an undercover reporter posing as a sports agent.

‘Seeing need not be believing’ and there would always be sinister doubts on any games if you believe that such things do happen.

After a tight spell, Rajat Bhatia bowled a great over defending 9 and when 5 needed off last ball, he bowled a low full toss, smacked for 6 by Bravo.  If you start believing that the full toss was made to order, there would be no end – then why was the previous ball or the second delivery, a gem which got rid of Dhoni.  In a tight situation, Dale Steyn bowled wide 5 – it can happen to the best of the players and it may not be doctored to rightly happen on the last ball, as so many matches have finished in the present version of IPL. 

In Tennis, you have seen great players lose and headlines scream of giant killers – novice beating the top seed – is it by choice ? – in EPL or in Foot ball World Cup, a player earning millions misses a simple goal – sometimes even direct penalty shots are not converted – could they be deliberate attempts ?  - you have seen golden goals in the dying seconds, teams coming from behind to win – do you enjoy those great matches or shout ‘fixed’ ?

Sports are entertainment and basically you require trust on the game – the greatest virtue of ODI was it being ‘unpredictable’.  The much repeated statement was ‘in ODI, it is not the best team that wins, but the team that plays better on a particular day’ – you have seen Zimbabwe, Canada, Bangladesh, Ireland all winning bigger rivals on a day – way back in 1983 a team consisting of Greg Chappel, Dennis Lillee, Rodney Marsh, Thompson – lost to Zimbabwe !!   You have to trust the fact that your heroes on the field are giving it their all because without that trust you will doubt every move they make.   No sport can survive that.  If you are cynical, every move can be viewed with doubt !!

Yes IPL is all about money – everybody is making money, most of which perhaps remain unaccounted – perhaps there is dire need for proper accounting standards and the Country’s exchequer getting its due share in the form of taxes – why should IPL be allowed tax exemption or any other benefits – they are earning and they need to pay the due to the coffers.   What is needed is strong governance. 

The 5 players suspended could be nobody – it could be tip of the ice-berg or search in a haystack for a needle not lost there.  Television channel India TV yesterday claimed to have blown the lid off “murky deals” in the IPL among players, organisers, owners and big guns of Indian cricket – the real thing could be far away from all this.   In the first few versions, there were the icon players who were paid more by the franchisees owning them.  Now, officially, Ravindra Jadeja gets paid more than Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Chris Gayle, Virender Sehwag and a lot of other talented players.  Can this be away from the truth ?   is there a possibility of franchisees resorting to some back hand payment.  The financials and the accounting of the franchisees, IPL itself and BCCI needs strongly checked by Govt at least to ensure that whatever the money is raked in, is properly accounted and not swallowed at various levels.  Sure more than the money that is officially offered, there have been many perks in the form of first-class flights, holidays, company cars, use of club credit cards, health care and private security and more gifts in the nature of cars, bungalows, laptops, and many more…..  why is that the taxman, who perforce makes salaried class undergo the rigour of filing their returns and make numerous visits for getting refund in thousands is not present in these high-profile, huge money involved matters. 

IPL had its echo in Parliament with ex-cricketer Kirti Azad querying on the absence of a Minister in the Parliament but showing up regularly on TV in IPL.   The controversy over Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor's alleged involvement in the IPL franchise business stalled Parliament proceedings on Friday with angry Opposition members demanding an explanation from the minister, who denied any wrongdoing.  Earlier, as the Lok Sabha resumed at 1100 hrs IST on Friday, Opposition members rose to demand an explanation from Tharoor, who is alleged to have misused his official position to help his friend Sunanda Pushkar get sweat equity worth Rs 70 crore in the IPL Kochi franchise.

So IPL is making news and in thick of action, this time for wrong reasons but still would gain by all the publicity.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

1 comment:

  1. does any one remember this still - lanka ravi