Like a meticulously choreographed, rigorously rehearsed dance, the IPL imbroglio is finally heading towards a pre-scripted, dramatic finale.
It started out with the board wanting to use the excuse of governmental investigations into the IPL’s functioning to trim Modi to size, clip his wings a little, put a layer of oversight [that is to say, a governing council in something more than name, one that functions not merely as a rubber stamp] on the functioning of the commissioner (suspended), and get back to business as usual.
Modi’s combative responses to the series of show cause notices [one, and two] and, more crucially, his determined effort to fling mud helter skelter [his claim that Manohar and Srinivasan were dirty and hence could not sit in judgment over him] changed the choreography of the dance: the BCCI at that point figured that he was more trouble than he was worth, and that it could not work with him even in a curtailed role.
At that point, the Board put into motion a series of moves aimed at a predestined conclusion. Step one was the BCCI laundromat kicking into life, with Manohar giving a clean chit to Amin — very necessary, as Amin had been designated as the next head of the IPL with Bharat Patel as his ‘advisor’. Having exercised his authority, Manohar then grandly recused himself from the disciplinary committee that will hear Modi’s case — in one shot, fulfilling half of Modi’s demand while prima facie injecting an appearance of impartiality into the further proceedings.
Srinivasan, who was named with Manohar as an interested party and hence in no position to sit in judgment on Modi, had earlier covered his particular base by saying he had taken then BCCI president Sharad Pawar’s permission to be part of an IPL bid: in other words, the BCCI secretary had sought, from his immediate superior who was himself heavily conflicted, permission to be similarly conflicted — a proceeding possible only in the looking glass world of the BCCI. Besides, he is in any case not a member of the disciplinary committee, so Modi’s strictures against him sitting in judgment are meaningless.
All of that was part of the set up — the BCCI then got into the climactic part of its performance today, with Srinivasan’s ‘rejection’ of Modi’s responses. I so totally love this bit, don’t you?:
“Since Mr Lalit Modi has accused me of being biased against him, after a thorough and careful reading of his explanation against the charges, I have passed an order that it was not acceptable.”
Laugh-out-loud funny, that bit: the first part of the sentence, regarding the accusation of bias, has no bearing on the second half of the sentence, which is Srinivasan’s determination. In other words: Modi says I am biased; let me, in totally unbiased fashion, say he is full of bull. Right.
The final steps of this dance have already been choreographed. Tomorrow, Amin will meet with the franchise holders and, irrespective of an agenda that includes, among other things, rationalizing the norms on player retention, discussing the revised schedule for IPL4 when two new teams enter the mix, and similar issues, the unstated agenda is to clearly signal the changing of the guard, to finally acquaint the franchises with the fact that the Modi era is over, and that they now have a new dispensation to deal with.
Fast forward to July 3. At the Special General Body Meeting, Srinivasan’s ‘rejection’ of the charges against Modi will be taken up. The SGM will ‘determine’ that there is prima facie cause to refer the issue to the disciplinary committee. The SGM will also nominate someone to take Manohar’s place in that committee, and to join Chirayu Amin [see why Manohar had to clear Amin's name? Else, the same objection Modi raised against Manohar, of bias, would apply] and Arun Jaitley in determining the nature of action.
Irrespective of who the third wheel is, that committee will determine that Modi is in gross violation of BCCI guidelines, that a pattern of irresponsible behavior exists, and that therefore he should be stripped of all powers and either retained in the Board as an ordinary member, or expelled altogether — that final determination depending on how Modi acts from here on. Fling more mud, and it is finito; pull in your horns and lie low, and we’ll leave you with some sort of role within the board.
What I don’t understand is this: why stagger this drama out? All the decisions have already been taken. [If Modi's position as IPL commissioner were still in doubt, Amin -- who is one of the troika who will render judgment -- wouldn't be actively stepping into the IPL boss's role with his meeting tomorrow, would he? There is nothing so pressing that it couldn't wait till after the June 3 meeting, and a final determination of Modi's fate].
So why this drawn out charade? For whose benefit is this drama being played out?
PS: Noticed some folks asking about posts relating to the whatever-cup played out in Sri Lanka, where yesterday they played the final before the final. Sorry, folks — haven’t been watching. Largely because I am swamped with some stuff I need to finish before the half yearly deadline, and partly because I found the whole thing immensely boring, and largely pointless. I’ll pass; am off to Chennai on some urgent personal work tomorrow, and will be back at work, and on blog, Monday. Be well, meantimes…