Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

IPL controversies

IPL was started to crush ICL. BCCI used its clout to get ICC ban players taking part in ICL. ICL had players from different countries. It was unfair to ban players taking part in ICL.
IPL got franchisees and sponsors. Players were auctioned. ICL suffered loss and disappeared.
Media gave good coverage to IPL. The telecast of matches was in the evening or at night. The matches provided entertainment and an alternative for movies and TV serials. People were fed up of K serials and they watched IPL.
In 2009 when the government could not provide security due to general elections IPL was moved to South Africa.
Most people in media reported what IPL told them without cross checking. It was reported that all tickets for IPL matches in South Africa were sold within five minutes. When the matches played there were not many spectators. TV cameras focussed on few people in the stadium.
In 2010 IPL was back in India. More people wanted to be part of IPL. Bids were called for two more franchisees. Lalit Modi made the rules. They were required to have $1 billion net worth and had to submit $100 million bank guarantee. Few could quality and Adani and Videocon won the bids.
Then BCCI intervened and annulled the bids. Fresh bids were called. The requirements of $1 billion net worth and $100 million bank guarantee were set aside. Sahara and Rendezvous won the bids.
Rendezvous had bid for Kochi. Lalit Modi tweeted the names of owners of Kochi franchise. Sunanda Pushkar’s name got Shashi Tharoor in trouble. BJP and Left Front wanted him to quit. BJP did not allow Shashi Tharoor to make a statement in Lok Sabha and disrupted the proceedings. Manmohan Singh was out of India. On 18/4/2010 Shashi Tharoor resigned. That was the end of the beginning. Some years back BJP did not allow a session to function as their demand of Sukh Ram’s resignation was not met. Some months later BJP formed a government in Himachal Pradesh with the help of Sukh Ram. On 9/3/2010 members who disrupted proceedings in the Rajya Sabha were suspended and marshals were called to take them out. Why was that not done in Lok Sabha on 16/4/2010?
On 19/4/2010 there was discussion in the Lok Sabha. Someone wanted cricket banned. Someone wanted IPL banned. Someone wanted nationalisation of BCCI.
In the media people spoke of allegations of betting, match-fixing, call girls, money laundering and underworld involvement.
IPL came to be referred as Indian Party League, Indian Political League and Indian Paisa League.
IPL is a private tournament that stretches to 45 days. There is no need for the government to provide security.
What happened to investigative journalism? No newspaper or TV channel reported anything significant till Lalit Modi tweeted.
After a bomb blast in Bangalore semi-finals of IPL were shifted to New Bombay. Karnataka Home Minister V. S. Acharya spoke of betting lobby being behind the shifting of venue.
On 22/4/2010 Income Tax officials visited offices of some franchisees and broadcasters. Whether the visits were raids or surveys is a matter of interpretation.
How did Rendezvous arrive at the figure of $333 million to win the bid for Kochi IPL? There are two reports.
1) Lalit Modi rang up to Rendezvous people and asked them to quote a particular figure. The Rendezvous people were suspicious and quoted 10% or 20% higher.
2) IPL CEO Sundar Raman sent Kochi IPL valuation report by e-mail to Poorna Patel, daughter of Praful Patel. She sent to Chandra Bharadwaj, secretary to Praful Patel who in turn sent it to Shashi Tharoor. The report showed total loss of Rs.612 crores to first ten years, 2011-2020, and showed profit from 2021 onwards. This was meant to discourage bid for Kochi IPL. Shashi Tharoor passed on the e-mail to Kochi bidders. They did not believe the report and contacted two cricketers, one a former player, an opening batsman and legend, second a current player. Based on what cricketers said Kochi IPL bidders quoted their figure.
The names of cricketers are not mentioned by anyone. India had many opening batsmen and if anybody can be called a legend it is Sunil Gavaskar. Chetan Chauhan, Ravi Shastri and K. Srikanth lag far behind. Sourav Ganguly is known for his captaincy. Who is the current cricketer? S. Sreesanth is from Kerala. It does not seem he has inside information.
There is talk of proxy holdings. Companies in Mauritius, Hong Kong, Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands and other places are mentioned.
Lalit Modi has taken on BCCI and refused to attend meeting on 26/4/2010 called by Sreenivasan saying it unauthorised and unofficial. As chairman of IPL he is the person who can call a meeting of IPL Governing Council. He wants a meeting on 1/5/2010.
There are questions about valuations. How did the valuators arrive at the conclusions in a short time? When franchisees are not making money how can the valuation go up?
Some MPs want JPC to probe IPL. That is not of much use and members take party positions.
Some have questioned the holding of matches at night and consumption of electricity as in most parts of the country there is shortage of electricity.
There is PIL against IPL in Bombay High Court.
On 22/4/2010 at 4.47 p.m. on NDTV 24×7 there was M. A. K. Pataudi interview with Barkha Dutt with “exclusive” written over it. At 5.04 p.m. M. A. K. Pataudi was on CNN-IBN with Karan Thapar. Did NDTV 24×7 have a contract for an exclusive interview? What about a viewer taking NDTV 24×7 to court for misleading?
It is said that Poorna Patel made Air India cancel a scheduled flight and chartered the aeroplane to carry Chennai Super Kings team from Chandigarh to Chennai. Air India has said India Cements chartered the plane. There is also report of another Air India plane diversion.
There is a report that one IPL official and 27 players were involved in match-fixing in S. Africa. Another report says the official and players are under suspicion of involvement in match-fixing.
There is demand for resignations of Sharad Pawar and Praful Patel. Congress can not do anything as they belong to NCP and if asked to resign NCP can withdraw support to UPA. It can pull down the UPA government at Centre and in Maharashtra. NCP can form government in Maharashtra and BJP will have no compunction in joining it. Congress will be the loser. When there was demand for A. Raja’s resignation DMK leader Karunanidhi ruled it out and Congress had to continue with A. Raja.
It is said some Congress members feel this is the time to teach NCP a lesson, NCP needs Congress more than Congress needs NCP. Congress does not have the support of RJD, SP and BSP. TMC is not happy with Congress. Trying to teach a lesson to NCP can prove costly. It can be repeat of 1999 when the government fell without passing the budget.
Some compare IPL to Satyam but the comparison is unfair. In Satyam money disappeared, according to one account Rs.11,000 crores. In IPL money has not disappeared. Besides there was no need for the government to get involved to save Satyam. Hit for Satyam would not have been hit for India’s software industry. In USA scams involving major companies take place with unfailing regularity yet USA has not been hit.
Some IPL team owners have money to own teams and pay millions of dollars to players but when they suffer loss in business they want government help. They don’t want to put profit in one group company to help another group company.
A. C. Muthaiah has filed a case Sreenivasan in Supreme Court. The timing can not be a coincidence.
A report of telephone tapping, technically signal interception, of conversations of Prakash Karat, Digvijay Singh, Nitish Kumar and Sharad Pawar has come out. It is said that P. Chidambaram and Pranab Mukherjee had incriminating evidence against Sharad Pawar and that made him turn against Lalit Modi. The equipment used for telephone tapping was acquired by National Technical Research Organisation in 2006.
A report says IT raids on franchisees were conducted on the basis of an unauthentic, unsigned and unsubstantiated tax report.
Pranab Mukherjee has cancelled his trip to USA to attend IMF meeting.
Government takeover of BCCI is not a good idea. Government runs other sports with mostly disastrous results. IOA is far behind schedule in getting everything ready for Commonwealth Games.
Let government make rules as to allow cricketers to run BCCI. Officials like President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer of BCCI should have played at least 25 Tests. Officials of local associations that field Ranji teams should have played at least 25 Ranji matches. National selectors should have played at least five Tests and local selectors should have played at least five Ranji matches. Clubs or other organisations that do not field Ranji teams should lost BCCI membership.
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