When Gurunath was in charge of the situation

The BCCI meeting on Sunday was stormy but bouncers made sure order was maintained at the venue

Updated - June 07, 2016 06:22 am IST

Published - June 03, 2013 02:15 am IST - CHENNAI:

Around 200 media persons were at Sheraton Park Hotel and Towers for the emergency meeting. Many had arrived at 6 a.m., over eight hours before the meeting was due to begin. Photo: K. Pichumani

Around 200 media persons were at Sheraton Park Hotel and Towers for the emergency meeting. Many had arrived at 6 a.m., over eight hours before the meeting was due to begin. Photo: K. Pichumani

Call it wicked irony or mischievous coincidence, but the man who played a key role at the BCCI meeting held in the city on Sunday, was called Gurunath. And he had a tough job — to ensure the much-awaited emergency meeting, went off peacefully.

Gurunath, who led a team of six bouncers, had been given clear instructions: “call the media persons ‘boss’ and allow no one to go near any of the members. But don’t get into any fight with them.”

The six-member team however, was hardly enough to control the tense and anxious crowd — over 200 reporters including nearly 120 camerapersons had landed outside Sheraton Park Hotel and Towers, at 6 a.m., over eight hours before the meeting began.

Their long wait was not wasted though, as the man himself, N. Srinivasan, decided to arrive early at the venue. At 10.57 a.m., in a white chauffeur-driven Land Cruiser, Srinivasan, dressed in a black safari suit, arrived.

“He would have selected the most auspicious time of the day to get there, as he is superstitious,” said a source. Sources tracking his movement said he had earlier gone to seek blessings at the Kesava Perumal Temple in Mylapore.

Every media house had deployed at least four cameras, one stationed outside Srinivasan’s house, one at Radisson Blu and two at the meeting venue. One by one, all invited senior members of BCCI arrived. The last to arrive was Ajay Shirke, who came around 2 p.m. Shirke had resigned his position on Friday.

Every member was crowded by anxious media persons, something that seemed to surprise a few other guests of the hotel who were oblivious of the reason behind the drama.

“When we came out of the hotel after celebrating my son’s first birthday, there were cameras everywhere. At first, we didn’t realise what was going on, but it was very exciting,” said M. Radhika.

The hotel, where several celebrities have stayed, has also hosted several cricketers from Chennai Super Kings during various IPL seasons.

Sources at the hotel said the regional vice-presidents of BCCI met in the lobby for 20 minutes before proceeding to the meeting, held in a special conference room, which had video- conferencing facilities, most likely for the benefit of Arun Jaitley and Anil Kumble, who could not attend.

Bouncer Gurunath’s team stayed vigilant throughout the proceedings and were also responsible for the parking situation.

“I have been a bodyguard for Simbu and Jayam Ravi, but this is more gruelling, as the reporters do not leave the members alone, even after all their questions have been answered,” he said.

The meeting ended around 4.30 p.m., and as members rushed out, the crowd swarmed around, mobbing them.

The Land Cruiser, license plate number 9001 — all Srinivasan’s cars’ have the same number on their plates — was stationed at the hotel until 5.30 p.m.

Amid the mad rush though, the car managed to leave the venue, soon after which officials announced that N. Srinivasan had left the hotel through the back gate. A few other board members too used this route, to avoid the media.

“We knew he would do that. We had already positioned one cameraperson at the back gate. Four of us have come from New Delhi, only for this,” said a reporter from a media house, carefully transferring his footage to a hard drive, even as others looked on enviously.

This story has been corrected for a factual error.

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