Why Srinivasan should quit, not just 'step aside'

How could N Srinivasan morally claim that his CSK team captain may be involved, his son-in-law may be involved, his team may be involved, but his own hands were totally clean?


Alam Srinivas | June 3, 2013

N Srinivasan: Stepping aside, Sir? Stop right there; perhaps you need to step down. Totally.
N Srinivasan: Stepping aside, Sir? Stop right there; perhaps you need to step down. Totally.

After the fiasco of a meeting of the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) on June 2, N Srinivasan, the cricket board’s president who decided to ‘step aside’ and not resign, justified the decision. He said, “I have not done anything wrong. There are no charges against me.”

Players may have ‘fixed’ IPL matches, umpires may have taken gifts from bookies, Srinivasan’s son-in-law, Gurunath Meiyappan, may have links with bookies, but there was nothing to prove Srinivasan’s complicity in these allegations.

But that is NOT the point. No one has asked ‘Mr N Srinivasan’ to resign as ‘Mr N Srinivasan’. The public wanted him to resign as the BCCI’s president because the board has done several things wrong, and there are charges against the board. More importantly, his son-in-law is involved, though Srinivasan says he knew nothing about what he did and claimed.

And Srinivasan’s team, Chennai Super Kings (CSK), is involved, although he claimed that he did not own the team, and neither did Gurunath.

Let us get this STRAIGHT. If IPL matches have been ‘fixed’ and players, umpires and possible team owners (despite the denials) are involved, doesn’t this reflect badly on BCCI, which owns the event and manages the league? If bookies were involved in illegal betting on IPL matches, isn’t the BCCI at fault, either for acts of omission or commission? And if BCCI’s internal anti-corruption unit failed to spot these illegal activities, who should be blamed for its ineffectiveness?

To begin with, the former chairman of the IPL governing council, Rajiv Shukla, should have been sacked. So should have been the other council members. Heads should have rolled in BCCI’s anti-corruption unit. The buck doesn’t stop with the ban on players, or to ask the umpires to stay out of future matches. The BCCI president should have gone too because the board claimed credit for IPL’s success. Logically, the board should have taken the flak; the buck should have stopped at Srinivasan.

Now take this logic a bit further. Did Mr Srinivasan expect us to believe that BCCI would conduct a fair inquiry against his son-in-law and his team (sorry, India Cements’ team, of which Srinivasan and his family members are promoters) if he stayed on as the BCCI president, stepped aside, or went on leave? Isn’t this like the CBI, which got its inquiry report approved by the law minister and PMO officials before it presented it to supreme court? If Ashwani Kumar had to go, so should Srinivasan.

Most importantly, does Srinivasan realise what he has done? He has given an ‘extraordinarily fair’ solution to any public servant or others who are accused of corruption, irregularities and unfairness. Given Srinivasan’s precedent, no one has to resign. Not the prime minister for coalgate, not former telecom minister A Raja for the 2G scam, and not Suresh Kalmadi for CWG scandal. They can claim they will stay unless proven guilty by a court of law or an internal inquiry, which will be conducted while they either remain the head of the ministry or institution, or ‘step aside’.

In the case of BCCI and Srinivasan, the issue is further compounded by other factors. His team – oh! I am sorry, India Cements’ team – is involved in several allegations. There is a case of ‘conflict of interest’ against Srinivasan in a court of law. The judgment on whether a company, of which he is a promoter, should have purchased an IPL franchise while he was a BCCI official is expected in July or August this year. The BCCI president could have resigned and waited for the order.

His son-in-law is embroiled in illegal betting and fixing. His bail was rejected and the police remand was extended by a court. At least at that stage, Srinivasan should have gone. The Indian captain, and the captain of CSK, is now under fire. There are allegations that he has a stake in a sports management company, which handles several Indian cricketers and CSK. Now isn’t that another ‘conflict of interest’? How could Srinivasan morally claim that his captain may be involved, his son-in-law may be involved, his team may be involved, but his own hands were totally clean?

Therefore, Mr Srinivasan, you need to go, and NOT merely ‘step aside’.



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