Month: August 2010

Match fixing and spot fixing

Pakistani cricketers are in news for match-fixing and spot-fixing. That should not surprise. The way Pakistan had lost some matches was an indication that something was wrong.

Pakistanis have been caught but it is foolish to say only Pakistanis were involved in match-fixing and spot-fixing. Many matches involving different countries raise questions and sometimes the role of umpires needs to be probed. What is passed off as umpiring error could be match-fixing. It could have been going on since the last millennium.

When Sachin Tendulkar was to lead the Indian team to Australia one BCCI official predicted that India would lose the Test series 0-3 and that series witnessed many umpiring errors and India lost the series 0-3.

When Anil Kumble was captain and India toured Sri Lanka there was decision review system. The decisions went in favour of Sri Lankans though TV replays showed that Sri Lankan batsmen who were correctly ruled out by field umpires were ruled not out by the umpire on decision review system. After that series India did not want decision review system. Recently in an ODI Dharmasena’s three decisions were against India. Some felt India should have opted for decision review system. They were naive. All three decisions after review would have been against India.

There is talk of Indian bookies being involved in match-fixing and spot-fixing. That would not be surprising considering the amount involved in betting in India though betting is illegal in India. Some have doubts about IPL matches.

One can assume match-fixing began when betting began. Bookies wanted profits and they tried to fix matches. Betting is business. Profit is the motive.

After Pakistan’s loss to Australia some Pakistani cricketers were banned for match-fixing but they were soon back in the team. It seems PCB is unwilling to act against fixers.

Some say Pakistanis began match-fixing in 1979. Asif Iqbal declaring Pakistan’s Innings 40 runs short of India’s score was the reason to say the Test was fixed.

In 1981 Australia’s Dennis Lillee and Rodney Marsh were involved in betting. Australia had enforced follow on and England has lost seven wickets. At that time Lillee and Marsh bet that England would win.

There are various suggestions for punishing players for match-fixing. One suggestion is to confiscate property of the players involved match-fixing. Another suggestion is to expunge the records of bowers. Suitable punishment for players who fix matches to lose would be to try them for treason and get them maximum punishment.

EVM theft

Hari Prasad, managing director of NetIndia Pvt. Ltd. and technical co-ordinator of Verifiability, Transparency and Accountability (VeTA) was arrested for EVM theft on 21/8/2010. VeTA claims to be a citizens’ forum that deals with election. GVL Narasimha Rao is the president of VeTA.

Some people have raised doubts about EVMs. When people lose elections they find it difficult to accept their defeat. Chandrababu Naidu and many losers question the reliability of EVMs.

Some had gone to courts against EVMs but they could not prove anything against EVMs. Madras High Court held EVMs to be national pride.

GVL Narasimha Rao was an independent psephologist and many of his predictions came true. Then he became an employee of BJP in an indirect way and his predictions for 2009 Lok Sabha elections proved wrong. Most exit polls had predicted Congress getting more seats than BJP. GVL Narasimha Rao had predicted BJP victory.

In 2004 BJP and its allies did not get Muslim votes due to 2002 Gujarat riots and Narendra Modi’s continuance as chief minister of Gujarat. In 2008 members of Sangh Parivar had attacked Christians in Orissa and Karnataka. When 2009 elections began Arun Shourie mentioned Narendra Modi as the next prime minister after L. K. Advani. Feroze Varun Gandhi made a speech against Muslims. BJP and its allies did not get Christian and Muslim votes. As long as Narendra Modi is chief minister of Gujarat, BJP and its allies can forget Muslim votes.

Alok Shukla, Deputy Election Commissioner, has said Hari Prasad was given a chance to prove that EVM can be tampered with and he failed to do so. GVL Narasimha Rao blames Election Commission for arrest of Hari Prasad as if stealing EVM or using a stolen EVM is not a crime. Hari Prasad has said that a government official gave the EVM to him and he returned the EVM to the official after using it but he has not mentioned the name of the official.

How an American and a Dutchman got involved in proving that EVMs can be tampered with needs to be probed. EVMs have been a success and India is technologically ahead of many other countries. If other countries don’t use EVMs it is their problem. They are free to remain backward. History of USA and the world would have been different if Americans had used EVMs in the presidential election of 2000.

Bureaucrats and freebies

Bureaucrats decide what freebies they should get when they are in service and after retirement. This leads to unjustified entitlements.

Air India survives on bail out money. Civil Aviation Ministry’s decision to grant free ticket upgrades and security passes and access to VIP lounges to former secretaries and their family members is an unjustified decision. The argument that it is a justifiable privilege considering the contribution made by secretaries is hollow. Secretaries are paid for their job and get pension after retirement. They did not do any favour or charity. Considering that Air India survives on bail out money if there is any contribution by secretaries it is in ruining the airline and turning airline’s profit into loss. It is another question whether our airports should have VIP lounges. In a democracy when all are equal how can anyone be a VIP?

Recently PMO objected to Civil Aviation Ministry’s decision. The possibility of bureaucrats in other ministries raising similar demands was a reason for objection. PMO should look into privileges enjoyed by present and former bureaucrats and the ministries should abolish freebies.

Our MPs want whatever bureaucrats get. The demand to raise salary of MP to Rs.80,001/- p.m. was because bureaucrats get Rs.80,000/- p.m. Bureaucrats were exempt from paying toll. MPs demanded that exemption and got it. MPs will demand every privilege given by every ministry to its present and former bureaucrats and cost for the country will be huge.