I.S. Bindra, former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has termed the June 2 emergency meeting of the working committee held in Chennai “illegal,” even as most cricket officials are patting themselves on the back for having dealt astutely with the crisis that hit Indian cricket in the wake of the IPL spot-fixing scandal.
Mr. Bindra, who was at the helm of the BCCI from 1993 to 1996, attended the meeting, where Jagmohan Dalmiya was appointed head of the working group in the place of the incumbent president N. Srinivasan, who stepped aside until the probe into his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan’s involvement in betting and spot-fixing is completed.
The meeting, he insisted, was only informal. “It was illegal because the president [Mr. Srinivasan] himself said it was an informal meeting. The meeting can’t … appoint an interim president. That power, under the Board’s constitution, lies with the AGM [Annual General Meeting].”
He told The Hindu : “An interim president can be appointed only if the current president resigns or is incapacitated, or is removed. Nothing of this sort has happened. So, how can you have a second post of interim president without the sanction of the constitution? The Board is not the private fiefdom of [a] few individuals, however high and mighty they may be. You can’t create the post of interim president without amending the constitution.”
This was a tough phase for the BCCI, he said. “This is the biggest scandal, not crisis. It has more pernicious repercussions than match-fixing because tomorrow this can be misused by any undesirable character who wants to hijack the Board. How can you make an amendment and make an appointment without following the constitutional provisions?”
The “degeneration” of the BCCI left Mr. Bindra disturbed and disappointed. “It is indeed sad and tragic. This edifice was built brick by brick by a band of dedicated and committed administrators and iconic cricketers. These people …, with their sweat, blood and tears, created a body which became envy of [the] entire cricketing world. Today, we are a butt of ridicule because of some opportunists.”
The Board was known to be an impeccable institution which boasted such stalwarts as M.C. Chidambaram, M. Chinnaswamy, S.K. Wankhede, N.K.P. Salve and Madhavrao Scindia, who knew how to manage the game. “People,” he bemoaned, “are coming into cricket now because of too much of money. Earlier, they came to raise money and contribute to the welfare of the game. They were true and genuine lovers of the game. Today, they want the annual booty of crores from the Board. I am surprised the same amount is being given to associations which have not even built any infrastructure for holding an international event or facilities at the grass-roots level. Thus, there is no linkage with productive ploughing back.”
Mr. Bindra was also critical of the panel constituted to inquire into the allegations against Meiyappan. “I have already pointed out on my earlier blog … that constitution of the panel is void ab initio . It is conceived by a group of people who have no authority whatsoever. It has no terms of reference. Somebody indeed is playing a cruel joke on two honourable retired judges and millions of cricket fans who are looking for an independent, fair and impartial probe.”