Consider this sequence of events:
- Betting and match-fixing allegations hit IPL.
- BCCI pleads helplessness as there are no laws in place covering deliberate under-performance.
- IPL Commissioner Rajiv Shukla and BCCI honcho Arun Jaitley meet Law Minister Kapil Sibal, “demand” tough new law.
- Kapil Sibal promises new law with teeth.
Here is the kicker: The Sports Ministry receives this tough new law — and finds that the IPL is kept out of its ambit:
Sibal assured that corporates, bookies, criminals as well as Indian and international players would fall under its jurisdiction.
The sports ministry was taken aback when it received the bill on Monday. Contrary to what Sibal had pledged, the law ministry has kept the scandal-ridden IPL out of its purview. Even the I-League is kept out its ambit.
The ministry dismissed the proposed law as an “eyewash”. Top officials called it a “toothless bill”.
“We’ll send our strong response by Wednesday,” a senior ministry official said. “People who have formulated the rules neither have an understanding of sports nor do they have a sound knowledge of law.”
(BTW, the person the Sports Ministry says has no knowledge of law is, wait for it, our Law Minister)
So let’s try this again: A law sparked by corruption in the IPL does not apply to the IPL.
Now ask yourself this: just how brazen can this collusion between the government and the BCCI get?
Ask yourself this, too: What is Kapil Sibal’s interest in saving the BCCI’s bacon?
In a series of tweets, Supreme Court advocate Nikhil Mehra demystifies the issue:
See how it all ties together — the various interests (with their in-built conflicts?)
You also know why, just yesterday, Kapil Sibal said the government should not “interfere in sports” (read BCCI). Of course it shouldn’t — his son is the BCCI advocate, no? How would it look at the family dinner table if the father went after the son’s client?
Here is the sports ministry official again:
Kapil Sibal becomes Law Minister immediately passes ruling for no retrospective tax. Media discovers son is counsel for Vodafone.— Nikhil Mehra (@TweetinderKaul) May 29, 2013
Amit Sibal represents BCCI in the suit before the Del HC by Zee/ICL challenging BCCI's monopoly status. He also represented BCCI in 1/n— Nikhil Mehra (@TweetinderKaul) May 29, 2013
a matter before the Del HC where the BCCI obtained an anti-suit injunction against Zee from suing the BCCI/ICC/ECB in England.— Nikhil Mehra (@TweetinderKaul) May 29, 2013
“This clearly indicates that the BCCI is above law. It cannot just be a mistake on the part of those formulating the draft bill. Action on the law has been hastened in the wake of the recent spot-fixing cases. Keeping the IPL out of the bill shows their mala fide intent. It clearly suggests that the BCCI has managed to wield its influence here too,” he said.
PS: Just now, on TV, IPL Commissioner Rajiv Shukla is heard telling media persons that the committee will investigate, it will report, and the recommendations in that report will be “immediately implemented”.
What committee, and which report? Earlier today Amit Shirke, BCCI treasurer and a member of this same committee, told Times Now that the brief given to them had been “severely restricted” — in other words, the committee has been given very narrow parameters to inquire within.
All of this leaves me with just one question/thought: Just how brazen can the BCCI and those within the government who support it get? Just how long will this one body take this country on an endless ride? And just how long will it be before the fans say, en masse, that enough is enough?