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The Indian Supreme Court: Reining in the BCCI

Virender Sehwag was one of the bowlers to participate in the bowl-out at the 2007 World T20. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)
Roar Rookie
7th March, 2016
2

Hats off to the Supreme Court for its honest efforts to rein in the seemingly all-powerful BCCI.

The message is clear for the cabal that the board has descended into. In the plainest terminology, it must be asked to fall in line or face the music. It cannot and should not be allowed to resort to dilatory tactics now to escape from perpetual and rigorous judicial scrutiny.

Long deemed a holy cow, above all criticism, the board bore no opposition and successfully silenced all its detractors using its financial might. The monthly pension scheme introduced for former players was part of that strategy to buy cooperation.

Most players thus kept mum about the high-handedness of the BCCI bosses in most matters. BS Bedi and Keerthi Azad were the honorable exceptions, who, refusing to toe the line, often voiced their protests against the machinations of the Board. It was a matter of shame that many other legends of the game in India like SM Gavaskar and Kapil Dev seemed more than happy with the doles dished out by the BCCI.

Their complicity almost made them unworthy of the unalloyed respect and love lavished upon them by the crazy followers of the game in the country.

It is nothing but shocking that despite claiming to be a private body – a ruse to evade the long arm of the law – it has for so long been granted the privilege of running the game in the country, including selecting national teams to represent the country in international tournaments.

Beneficiaries of the lucre from the BCCI, national politicians of all hues for decades have connived with it to get around the legal system. This must first be stopped. Further defiance to judiciary must mean loss of the privileges enjoyed by the Board.

For so long the Board has functioned with the least transparency and accountability and it is good fortune that the game has continued to thrive in the country rather than being weakened.

Instead of upright professionals and former players of unimpeachable integrity running the game with maximum transparency and accountability, here it has been a deplorable tale of self-seeking politicians and mammon-possessed businessmen arrogating to themselves the levers of power at the top of the BCCI.

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They have successfully manipulated the system to their advantage for so long. Now that they have been exposed and remedial action suggested by the Court, nothing can be better for the game in the country than a total purge.

The Apex Court must ask the Board to implement the recommendations of the Panel without any dilution to cleanse the system. The corrupt masters who have ensconced themselves at the top must be weeded out as the first step in the process of purging the system.

The sooner this cleansing process is set in motion under the close monitoring of the Court, the better it is for the game. Nothing else will do.