Month: March 2014

Sunil Gavaskar is BCCI President

Miracles do happen.
Till the morning of 27/3/2014 it was inconceivable that Sunil Gavaskar will become BCCI President next day, even if interim and for IPL purposes. In IPL fixing case Supreme Court Justices A. K. Patnaik and F. M. I. Kalifulla told BCCI lawyer that they intend to pass three orders the next day; replace N. Srinivasan with Sunil Gavaskar as president, ban Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals from IPL, and no employee of India Cements should hold any office in BCCI. On 28/3/2014 after hearing arguments of BCCI lawyer C. Aryama Sundaram, Supreme Court passed an interim order appointing Sunil Gavaskar as interim president of BCCI for IPL, and Shivlal Yadav, vice president from South Zone, as interim president for other purposes. Next hearing is on 16/4/2014.
Sunil Gavaskar said it was a huge honour. It was an incredible honour. When the highest court of the land tells you to do something you have no choice. He was ready for the challenge.
Supreme Court did not ban IPL supposedly because BCCI lawyer argued that it will cause a loss of 400 crore rupees. Some said BCCI argued against ban because Srinivasan’s team CSK was involved. In the past BCCI had terminated franchises of five teams and that time they did not think of loss. The five teams were Rajasthan Royals, Kolkota Knight Riders, Kochi Tuskers, Pune Warriors and Deccan Chargers. Rajasthan Royals and Kolkota Knight Riders got stay orders from courts. Deccan Chargers was replaced with Hyderabad Sunrisers.
Soon after Sunil Gavaskar’s name came up some said he was not the right person as he has conflict of interest. He was in IPL Governing Council for three years. He is in contract with BCCI for commentary for Rs.3.6 crore/p.a. He has a contract with NDTV 24×7. He owns Professional Management Group which manages endorsements of some cricketers like Virender Sehwag, Varun Aaron and Manoj Tiwary. Some said Anil Kumble is BCCI choice. Some opposed Anil Kumble saying he has conflict of interest and suggested names of Sourav Ganguly and Bishen Singh Bedi.
It is unusual for Supreme Court judges to say in advance what order they are likely to pass the next day. However the judgment was somewhat different from what was proposed. Instead of one, two interim presidents were appointed. If CSK and RR deserved ban they should have been banned whatever be the cost. Decision on India Cements employees in IPL was left to Sunil Gavaskar. Supreme Court should have decided about them.
There is no clarity on whether N. Srinivasan will represent India at ICC meeting on 9-10/4/2014. If it is about IPL Sunil Gavaskar should represent India. If it is about other matters Shivlal Yadav should represent India. Most likely the meeting has nothing to do with IPL as IPL is a domestic tournament.
Sunil Gavaskar is not to do commentary when he is interim president and he will be suitably compensated. Nothing is said about his contract with NDTV 24×7 and running PMG. He had a dispute with BCCI regarding pending payment of 9 or 12 crore rupees for the time he was member of IPL Governing Council. Now is the time for him to resolve the dispute in his favour.
Who all are behind Aditya Verma, secretary of Cricket Association of Bihar which is not affiliated to BCCI, who filed a PIL against BCCI in Bombay High Court? The case subsequently made it to Supreme Court. Harish Salve’s fees are exorbitant. Aditya Verma could not have afforded him as his lawyer unless he has black money. Lalit Modi, Sharad Pawar, Shashank Manohar, Subodh Kant Sahay and I. S. Bindra are hostile to N. Srinivasan. Shashank Manohar wanted IPL 7 scrapped.
Harish Salve said Mahendra Singh Dhoni committed a corrupt practice when he lied to the Mudgal Committee that Gurunath Meiyappan was just an enthusiast. C. Aryama Sundaram said that was a scurrilous allegation. Harish Salve said BCCI is responsible for institutional integrity. CBI has evidence against players but BCCI does not want action against players. BCCI lawyer who appeared before Mudgal Committee did not want ban on CSK.
CBI can inform the police who can file FIRs. FIRs are first information reports. When the police have information about a crime they can file FIRs. There is no need for complaint from aggrieved party. In Tehelka journalist rape case Goa police filed FIR. Later they contacted the journalist. Tarun Tejpal’s arrest followed.
Bishen Singh Bedi asked how can an opening batsman be converted into a night watchman? Krishnamachari Srikkanth said all have to respect the Supreme Court and Sunil Gavaskar is the right choice. Bimal Soni said Sunil Gavaskar is the best man for the job in the short term. Give the man a chance.
Sunil Gavaskar’s appointment dominated news channels. There was not much about Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi. Arivind Kejriwal made news due to an attack on him.
Some say IPL is a good product and should not scrap it. IPL is commerce, entertainment and glamour. There is not much cricket in it. All that glitters is not gold. If IPL is scrapped there is not much harm to cricket. Some cricketers are ready to play in IPL but don’t want to represent their country.
It is good to have cricketers as officials of BCCI. President should have played 100 Tests for India. Other officials like vice president, secretary, treasurer and selectors should have played 50 Tests for India. Membership of cricket associations that field teams for Ranji Trophy and other matchers should be restricted to players who have played first class cricket.

Powers of Election Commission

What are the Powers of Election Commission during Lok Sabha or other elections? Model Code of Conduct does not have statutory power. If a candidate does not follow the code there is not much EC can do except perhaps countermanding the election in which case other candidates are also punished for no fault of theirs. Parties willingly follow the code so it has moral power. Cases are registered for code violations but not much seems to have happened. Sometimes it is for using more vehicles than permitted. It is not known what happens to cash and liquor bottles seized.
Governments have to function. Many administrative decisions are to be taken. EC permission is not necessary for such decisions. However elections are an excuse not to take decisions. Admiral D. K. Joshi resigned on 26/2/2014. Government accepted his resignation with immediate effect. For four weeks no admiral was appointed. Then Defence Ministry approached EC for permission to appoint admiral. This is an attempt to hide the delay.
Last working day of February is the usual day for presenting central government budget. Election in a state should not be a reason for postponing the budget. RBI may issue banking licences if the process is complete.
Exit poll telecasts are banned till the last date of polling is over but TV channels get over the ban by talking of projections. Discussion on possible outcome cannot be banned as it will infringe on freedom of speech and expression.
Once EC ordered covering of Mayawati and elephant statues, elephant being the symbol of BSP. In one place winds blew away covers. New covers had to be put. This time EC did not pass such order.
In 1977 voting was on 16 and 20 March. In 1980 voting was on 3 and 6 January. In 1984 voting was on 24, 27 and 28 December. In 1989 voting was on 22, 24 and 26 November. Since 1991 voting has spread over a period of around one month. This time voting is on nine dates beginning on 7 April and ending on 12 May. Counting is on 16 May. This is of Lok Sabha elections. Legislative Assembly elections take place every year as different states have elections at different times. Several state elections are clubbed together. Model Code of Conduct comes into effect when elections are announced. From 1977 to 1989 voting was held within five days from first to last. There is no good reason to stretch voting on many days. EC should hold voting on a single day or within five days from first to last.

Supreme Court on Srinivasan

Supreme Court wants N. Srinivasan to quit as BCCI President. On 25/3/2014 Justices A. K. Patnaik and F. M. I. Kalifulla said “We feel that unless the President of the BCCI steps down, no fair decision can be taken. Why is Mr. Srinivasan sticking to his chair? It is nauseating. Courts after courts have said he should step down… Srinivasan should step down else we will pass a verdict.”
BCCI lawyer C. Aryama Sundaram said there was evidence of betting in IPL and Supreme Court appointed panel comprising Mukul Mudgal, Nilay Dutta and L. N. Rao had not found evidence of match-fixing or spot-fixing. Supreme Court judges countered Sundaram saying “Don’t say that. You are saying this because you have not seen what is there in the sealed cover. We have seen it and so we are at the root of it…” They showed a portion of the report to Sundaram and said “We don’t want to damage people’s reputation but in our opinion, Srinivasan must step down. The man at the top must go there if there has to be any fair investigation… gist of the sealed cover report proves many allegations… allegations are such that BCCI cannot be trusted with this.”
I do not know what the judges meant by “Courts after courts have said he should step down.” Bombay High Court did not say Srinivasan should step down.
It is known toss-fixing, spot-fixing, session-fixing and match-fixing take place in IPL. Players, officials and umpires get involved. Many people know about fixing. They watch it as entertainment. Guilty must be punished. The arrests of three Rajasthan Royal players took place in the middle of May 2013. Other arrests followed. Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was one of them. Asad Rauf’s name came up in IPL fixing and he returned to Pakistan. In September there was BCCI AGM and Srinivasan was re-elected as president. If Srinivasan is guilty those who voted for him are not better.
It is unfair to ask someone to step down based on the contents in a sealed envelope. The panel should have given the full report openly. If something was damaging to the reputation of players, umpires and officials, deponents should have been asked to submit affidavits. Supreme Court should make the contents of sealed envelope public. Srinivasan should be asked about what is written about him. If it is conflict of interest as CSK owner and BCCI president he can be barred from deciding matters where there is clash of interests. It is interesting that in the matter of declaration of assets of Supreme Court judges, Supreme Court filed a case in Delhi High Court. Supreme Court lost the case. Then it appealed to itself. Here is a curious case where a party to a dispute is judge.
Srinivasan claimed he is not the owner of CSK. India Cements owns CSK. He is a shareholder of CSK. Technically he is right. In reality he controls India Cements, so he owns CSK. If matches involving CSK were fixed and Meiyappan had a hand in it Supreme Court should make it public. If Srinivasan knew about fixing by Meiyappan and allowed it to continue he is guilty. In that case Supreme Court should say Srinivasan is guilty for allowing or cover-up of fixing in CSK matches and should quit.
What is a fair investigation? Police is not under Srinivasan’s control. One police officer, Sampath, is facing problems for deposing about fixing. Tamil Nadu police is under Tamil Nadu government. Action against Sampath is because home minister or chief minister of Tamil Nadu wants it.
BCCI has Arun Jaitley, Rajeev Shukla, Farooq Abdullah, Anurag Thakur, Narendra Modi, Jyotiraditya Scindia and many others as members. They have not spoken against Srinivasan.
Who are the cricketers involved in fixing? It is said six names are mentioned in the report. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has sued a channel for defamation.
In recent Ashes series many DRS decisions went against England. Without DRS results would have been different. Sometimes it seems DRS is used for match or spot-fixing.