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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

IPL spotfixing scandal: Farooq Abdullah calls BCCI president Srinivasan 'honourable man'

N Srinivasan BCCI President
N Srivinasan protesting himself
He may be hounded by the media, but Board of Control for Cricket in India president N. Srinivasan continues to hold his fort with an iron hand. The 67-year-old industrialist and sports administrator from Chennai is under pressure to quit after his son-in-law and the 'public face' of Chennai Super Kings, Gurunath Meiyappan, was arrested for his alleged links with bookies. Reportedly, a few BCCI members had asked him to quit on moral grounds, but Srinivasan kept them at bay saying he was not at fault and had no reason to let his guard down.

Srinivasan, on Tuesday, received some moral support from some heavyweight political quarter. Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference's Farooq Abdullah called the embattled BCCI chief an "honourable man" and was under no pressure to quit because his son-in-law was being investigated for betting in Indian Premier League matches.

In BCCI politics, it's all about mathematics and Srinivasan has the numbers to stay in command. With none of the Board bigwigs raising their voice against Srinivasan, the BCCI boss is safe. If Srinivasan has to be booted out, the BCCI constitution stipulates that a notice signed by at least 10 members has to be given to the board secretary (Sanjay Jagdale), who will then convene an emergent general meeting. Srinivasan can be sacked if two-thirds of the members present vote for his removal by secret ballot.

A common refrain at the BCCI is "harmony and unity." This was the mood (Hyperlink story where Srini was cool) at the dinner hosted by former BCCI boss Jagmohan Dalmiya on the eve of the IPL final at the Eden Gardens on Sunday. One aspect that makes BCCI such a powerful body is the fact that it's a who's who of Indian politics. Cutting across political likes, BCCI has two BJP honchos - Arun Jaitley, Narendra Modi -- as members. C.P Joshi, Rajeev Shukla and Jyotiraditya Scindia (all Congress) and Abdullah (National Conference) complete the 'line-up.'
Abdullah's support for Srinivasan comes at a crucial time. The veteran J&K politician is probably echoing the mood in BCCI. Many insiders say "it's a storm (spot-fixing scandal) that will eventually blow away." Public memory is anyway short. With the ICC Champions Trophy round the corner, the game will eventually sweep away all the ruckus around spot-fixing and Srinivasan's son-in-law.

But there will always be a few who will speak up. Several known faces have expressed their reservations about how BCCI has handled the entire scenario of spot-fixing since it came out in the open on May 16. They have even commented on why the BCCI chief has no right to stay in office. However, only a few amongst them have said so "on record".

Former India cricketer and BJP MLA Kirti Azad said on Tuesday that nobody has the courage to take on Srinivasan. "The BCCI has become Gandhiji's three monkeys - see no evil, say no evil and hear no evil. They are hand in gloves. Nobody wants to fight with Srinivasan because they want to be the next president and if they protest against him now, they will lose his votes," he said. According to BCCI convention, Azad's party colleague, Jaitley, is in pole position to be the next Board president and an announcement (president-elect) can come as early as September 2013! (Watch Video)

The bottomline is, therefore, clear!