Thursday, 26 September 2013 00:00
IT took some time, but it has finally happened. Former Indian Premier League (IPL) Commissioner Lalit Modi has been banned for life by the BCCI, which, despite their many shortcomings, finally acted. By comparison the oversights that keep taking place in Sri Lanka remains in the shadows.
Shortly after the Supreme Court dismissed suspended Modi’s plea seeking a stay on BCCI’s Special General Meeting (SGM), the Indian board slapped a life ban on him. Reports indicate Modi was found guilty of bid rigging, trying to favour two particular bidders in 2010. Modi, who has been in London for the past two years, has also been found guilty on charges of arm-twisting and threatening the Kochi consortium that owned the now-defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala franchise.
He has also been found guilty of misappropriation of funds by pocketing facilitation fees to the tune of 80 million dollars, apart from rigging the IPL internet and broadcast rights. The self-exiled former Commissioner has also been charged with forming a breakaway T20 league with certain English counties.
It is true that in terms of mismanagement and corruption the Modi saga far outweighs Sri Lanka’s indiscretions and one could even argue that the BCCI, with its own questionable conduct, did not dispense justice in the most efficient manner. Others would point out that a ban for life is inadequate punishment for Modi’s bouquet of crimes.
Yet some action was taken, unlike in Sri Lanka, where officials continue to operate with impunity. The most recent issue was cancellation of the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) amid allegations that SLC sold some of the franchises to Indian bookies.
The storm erupted on suspicion that two of the seven franchises during the inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) may have been owned by bookies. According to reports, SLC officials were quick to distance themselves from the accusations, stating that the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit had to notify them if they had unearthed any evidence, but SLC cannot absolve itself of putting the integrity of the Board on the line in search of quick money and exposing its players to corrupt elements.
Newspaper reports, despite refusing to divulge the name of the franchise, also reported that they had approached a senior player to fix a match and that the same company was being investigated on spot fixing charges relating to the Bangladesh Premier League. The investigations could unearth potentially embarrassing news for SLC.
However, these are not new charges as far as the SLC is concerned. Last year, from the moment SLC launched the SLPL, there have been suspicions about the way the Board dealt with matters pertaining to the tournament. Somerset Ventures acquired the rights to conduct the tournament under controversial circumstances that even required a high profile probe from the Parliamentary watchdog COPE. However, no legal action was taken.
Repeated murky dealings on multi-million dollar contracts regarding TV rights, the establishment of the Carlton Sports Network and the dealings of the World Cup that caused a staggering loss of Rs. 7 billion are just a few instances that spring to mind when thinking of the ethics, transparency and good governance of the SLC.
No wonder COPE dubbed SLC the most corrupt institution under its purview.