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Clean chit gives off a foul stink

It is indeed laughable that an inquiry committee set up by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has given a ‘clean chit’ to the top offenders in the IPL spot-fixing scandal, including the son-in-law of the former board chief N Srinivasan, Gurunath Meiyappan, and one of the co-owners of the Rajasthan Royals franchise, UK-based NRI businessman Raj Kundra.

It seems that the inquiry commission was by Srinivasan, of Srinivasan and for Srinivasan, pretty much clearing the decks for his eventual return to head the richest cricket board in the world. In an appalling proclamation, the board’s internal inquisition has led to practically nullifying the allegations against the two accused, which have included match-fixing, spot-fixing and betting over the IPL results, ball by ball, score by score. In the light of the gravity of the accusations, BCCI’s hurried and blatant declaration that Meiyappan and Kundra are innocent is such a hatchet job that calling it an ‘eyewash’ might sound like an understatement.

The probe panel, which said there is no evidence of betting and spot-fixing against the two, had the mindboggling sense to conclude their ‘investigation’ without consulting the Mumbai police, which played the key role in nabbing the duo and unearthing crucial links between them and the betting rackets. In a shameless bid to cover up the tracks, the board’s internal inquiry stands quashed, with virtually no credibility to call its own.

Moreover, the breakneck speed at which the panel completed its probe, is, to say the least, atrocious, given the usual pace at which justice, or the lack of it, unfolds in this country. The two-member panel had managed to reach a foregone conclusion, internally pre-decided and suited to ensure the return of the kingpin, the India Cements and CSK-owner N Srinivasan. The investigation that was conducted in a clandestine manner by the (in)disciplinary committee with the report signed and sealed without anyone else having an inkling as to its contents, is certainly not the yardstick by which we could possibly measure the transgressions of the two accused.

Surely, since the BCCI is not at all a judicial body, its probe, that did not take into account any of the inputs from the Mumbai and Delhi polices, would not hold water if the investigation results by the cops turn out to be loggerheads with its own conclusion. However, what is beyond baffling, is the refusal by the BCCI probe panel to send its judges to study what the cops have had to say!

How can we take a report seriously when it has not covered all the grounds and has cast a blind eye to the most damning aspects of the allegations? If the probe panel was a smokescreen from the outset, why was it allowed to indulge in the hogwash in the first place? Clearly, there has an internal understanding between the former and the current BCCI bosses, with clearing one another’s name in a give and take manner being the name of the game. BCCI’s inglorious and utterly condemnable attempt to hoodwink the discerning public with its foregone conclusions is a travesty of the spirit and popularity of cricket in this country.         

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