Perestroika for the troika

Between Modi, Manohar and Srinivasan, there are a lot of questions that call for urgent answers. Jayaditya Gupta lists the most compelling — and underlines why “meeting after 10 days” is not the way to go.

There are far too many questions surrounding the auction of the two franchises. Why was the auction deferred on the day it was supposed to have been held? The explanation for the deferment given at the time was that the financial clauses were too stringent. Was that not an issue in the days and weeks before that? The new bids were opened on March 21; the agreement with the Kochi consortium was signed on the night of April 10 – 20 days later. Why the delay? Correspondence between Shashank Manohar and Modi suggests the issue of ownership had been discussed – and questions raised – long before the shareholding pattern was revealed on Sunday afternoon. If there were doubts over the credibility of the successful bidders, could that not have been sorted out before the bids were opened? Could due diligence on the bidders not have been done? I am no legal or financial wiz, but it does strike me as common sense to do a basic fact-check before allowing someone to sit at your table and share in a very lucrative pie.

For too long Indian cricket has been living in an unreal world. Unreal at various levels – the entire notion of the Indian board being a trust (and so saving millions of dollars in taxes), instead of a corporate entity sitting on a billion-dollar empire, or the notion of the IPL being a “domestic league”. It is time to get real, to play the part of one of the world’s leading sports tournaments, among the most innovative and certainly among the richest. Forget the money, there are too many livelihoods riding on the IPL.

What should the BCCI do now? That’s the tricky question. The Indian board doesn’t have the credibility to ensure a thorough investigation of the Kochi case from within – that job could, given the money involved, be handed over to criminal investigators, as the opposition party, the BJP has suggested – but it could set the ball rolling by ensuring the nine other franchises declare their ownership structure. And making public its own accounts.

The regime of Manohar and Srinivasan, which has ruled over the Indian board for the past two years, has been likened to the Kremlin for the secrecy with which it operates. Well, now is the time for some perestroika and some glasnost.

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9 thoughts on “Perestroika for the troika

  1. Pingback: Non-responsive responses… and a flashback « Smoke Signals

  2. The 750 million + undisclosed amount in the player auction was a nice model that allowed LKM to give whichever player to whoever he wanted for whatever amount. He should have made similar rules for the team auction also, so that mites like RWS wouldn’t have had a chance to irritate the mighty one. Once we have disqualified Kochi, we’ll see that in the re-auction.

  3. One thing that bugs me is that, before Modi started washing dirty linen in public, did the press know what was happening and if yes, why not report it earlier? Do people really think that the reports were cobbled up by the journalists overnight? One seriously wonders about the credo of the press.

  4. This article does not help the credibility of the Indian cricket in front of the global audience.Guptaji should be focusing on the scam at the center. Check this statement..
    “My own business interests and assets are substantial, and efforts to besmirch Tharoor by presenting me as a proxy for him are personally insulting for me as a woman and as a friend.” So why do you want to marry a 54 years old man? for more money? Why complicate your life going for an old man who was married twice before and has grown up children. For ST, this lady is one tool to reach the top ..that model worked for him previously.

  5. Prem,

    These 10 days will be used by Rajeev Shukla to broker the deal while LKM keeps low. And BJP is not serious on the allegations – they have their own shady past asscoiations between Vasundhara and LKM.

    As a side note, I always wonder why no one writes about Rajeev Shukla, his shameless and meteoric rise from an anchor to his powerful status today is incredible.

    • Anchor? Before that, he was a “journalist”. I had the dubious pleasure of working with him, during which period he was in actual fact a fixer for the Ambani empire. Made his start there.

  6. Is the BCCI a public or private entity? If it is a private entity (because it is not run by the govt) and it’s not a charity (because it now pays, or will pay, taxes) then why should it be compelled to open its books? Also, what legal standing is there that may compel it to disclose the shareholdings of the other franchises. Presumably, the other franchises are also private entities and are entitled to confidentiality.

    I think the bigger picture is getting lost in all this commentary. Much of the above is valid, but lets get real about what is actually permissible by law and what might actually happen.

    I don’t doubt that Modi and co, but not Tharoor, have many conflicts of interest throughout many dealings of the IPL. But, does that really matter? Apart from our curiosity, is there really any logical reason why the franchisees should disclose their shareholdings?

  7. This is all caused by the political naivete of people helming the BCCI affairs. Pawar’s men are not politically as apt as Pawar.

    Modi should stick to what he does best, administration. He turns himself into a mo*on when he tries to develop money-making schemes. Seen right from his college-sophomore days.

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