It remains to be seen if the chargesheeting of Gurunath Meiyappan, former team principal of Chennai Super Kings and son-in-law of BCCI’s (self-reinstated) president N Srinivasan, would have any effect on how the affairs of the world’s richest cricketing board, the BCCI, and the country’s most glamorous and high-profile annual sporting event, the IPL, are conducted in future. While the charges against Meiyappan, along with the Bollywood actor Vindoo Dara Singh and 20 others, are very many, betting and cheating form the crux of the allegations levelled at them by the Mumbai police. In fact, the Mumbai cops, in their 1,15,000-page chargesheet, have also named disgraced Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf and 15 alleged bookies, as wanted accused, thereby firmly pointing at the far-reaching web of illegal activities that has been operating beneath the surface glitz and hoopla around the IPL. The extent of charges against Meiyappan alone can provide a horrifying glimpse of the possible involvement of the top bosses of the cricketing tournament, including the team owners and prominent board members, as well as many of the players themselves, in the deep muck of betting, spot-fixing, cheating and other money-minting malpractices. These include section 66A of the Information Technology Act, sections 4 and 5 of the Gambling Act. He has also been charged under sections 465 (forgery), 466 (forgery of record of court or of public register), 468 (forgery for cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document), 490 (breach of contract), 420 (cheating), 212 (harbouring the offender), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC — further corroborating suspicions that the least important aspect of the Indian Premier League is the cricketing sport itself, given the outcome of a crucial over in a match is fixed more often than not, throwing out player performances, batting styles, bowling speeds and other ponderables that keep the pundits and commentators busy in television studios or at the stadia pavilions.
From the outset, IPL has been under the shadow of ever-looming controversy — be it the discrepancies in creating new team franchises favouring one camp over another, or the indiscretions of the former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, who has escaped arrest by the Indian authorities refusing to leave the safe haven of London, and even the mud that has clearly tainted the present BCCI president N Srinivasan, thanks to his relationship with Gurunath Meiyappan. While Srinivasan is bullishly aiming at an extension of his presidency, distancing himself from his son-in-law, more and more unscrupulous activities of those involved in IPL are coming to the fore. Evidently, IPL, the brainchild of Lalit Modi, was primarily created as a gargantuan cricketing casino, with nefarious bettings forming the subterranean world that eventually overwhelmed the surface sportsmanship and bravura displays of fast-paced, short-form T20 cricket. Given the revelations, it is obvious that Meiyappan, is nevertheless, a smaller fry in the great roulette wheel of IPL’s gambling and betting schemes, with infestations at every level of operation – be it the team formation or franchise consolidation, the players’ selection and trade-offs, as well as the wins and losses, bracketed performances and results of individual balls and overs. So, while chargesheeting Meiyappan is a whiff of relief for many who are disgusted with the whirlwind of dirt that has engulfed cricket in India, it would remain an inadequate victory if he, or the others who have been named, are not brought to book in court of law. Moreover, Srinivasan’s shameless self-promotion must also be stopped, in order to restore the lost credibility of cricket in India.