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Drugs, drinks, women, gambling, spot fixing! What more do we need to shut down the IPL? Cleaning up the mess is the answer and the responsibility lies with the BCCI, the IPL Council and the owners of the franchises
Drugs, drinks, women, gambling, spot fixing: Sounds like a cross between an early seventies rock festival and a sleazy bookies annual convention in Mumbai, with guests from Pakistan. No, this is the Indian Premier League (IPL), the jewel in the crown of Indian cricket and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
No wonder Kirti Azad, a key member of Kapil’s Devils, the team which won the 1983 cricket World Cup, has gone on a fast demanding that the IPL be scrapped. Azad may be asking for too much. Clean-up, yes; obliteration, no. All would agree that the 2012 edition of IPL has become something like the Augean Stables. And we need a Hercules to divert the Ganges and clean up the IPL which has created a stench worse than Chennai’s Cooum River and the Buckingham Canal.
What more do we need to shut down the show, asks Azad. But let us see if there are any positives to offset these activities of IPL players that offend the nostrils. Let us look at the negatives first.
Five uncapped Indian players in the IPL were caught in a sting operation by a TV channel that implicated them in spot-fixing. BCCI, which seems to have lost control over the IPL, has suspended the five players pending an in-house investigation. No one knows or is saying why the police have not been brought in because unlicensed gambling is a crime in India.
On Sunday night, the police raided a rave party in a hotel in Juhu, Mumbai, and rounded up nearly a hundred people, 58 men and 38 women, all young. Among them were two IPL players and the children of so-called celebrities. The police found 110 grams of cocaine, a large number of Ecstasy tablets and charas.
Superstar Shah Rukh Khan, joint owner of the Kolkata Knight Riders, was involved in a brawl in the Wankhede Stadium with the officials of the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA), which banned him from the entering the stadium for five years. Khan said he was objecting to a security guard “roughing up” his little daughter while the Association claimed Khan was drunk and disorderly.
Luke Pomersbach, the Australian playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore, was arrested on charges of molesting Zohal Hamid, a woman who is a US citizen. He was given bail by a Delhi court. His passport was seized and he cannot leave the country until the police investigation is complete.
The alleged molestation happened at five in the morning, after a drunken all-night party in which Zohal was present throughout along with her fiance. Pomersbach got full support from Siddharth Mallya, who used foul language on Twitter while claiming that Zohal was a woman of doubtful character. Zohal has filed a defamation case against Siddharth, son of liquor baron Vijay Mallya.
Azad’s claim is that these incidents are enough to close down the IPL; and who is to say that such things will not happen in future?
The positives in favour of continuing the IPL with a clean-up are that for five years the ILP matches have been providing good, wholesome entertainment for tens of millions of cricket fans all over the world; even Indians in the US are following these matches closely.
There will always be a few rotten ones but we cannot tar the whole bunch with the same brush.
And then there is the humongous amount of money involved in the IPL which is not just a yearly international cricket tournament but a big industry. The turnover since the time IPL started must have neared or crossed $1 billion. You cannot closed own a flourishing, billion dollar industry by a fiat. And there are thousands of contracts, many of them intertwining, which cannot be cancelled without creating a mess which would take years to settle. Cleaning up the IPL is the answer and the responsibility lies with the BCCI, the IPL Council and the owners of the franchises.
First, impose discipline on the players and the owners. From the beginning the players have been forced to attend parties after every match in which liquor flows like water, attended by women who most of the time stay on drinking till the parties get over just as the sun is rising.Therefore, the first step is no boozing for the players, no partying; and lights out at 11pm. The rest of the clean-up will follow automatically.
(R Vijayaraghavan has been a professional journalist for more than four decades, specialising in finance, business and politics. He conceived and helped to launch the Business Line, the financial daily of The Hindu group. He can be contacted at [email protected].)
Anna Hazare also criticised the UPA government for burdening the common man with price hikes while they were celebrating their third anniversary of being in power
Nashik: Even as corruption and inflation have made life difficult for common man, the government's decision to hike petrol prices has only added fuel to fire, anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare said, reports PTI.
"My activists will support the 'Bharat Bandh' called by the BJP and Left parties on 31st May to protest petrol price hike," Hazare said while addressing a public meeting here last night.
He criticised the UPA government for burdening the common man with price hikes while they were celebrating their third anniversary of being in power.
"If the government does not pass the Jan Lokpal Bill, I will begin my fast unto death at New Delhi," he said.
When reporters quizzed him about his health and would be take up fasting during ill-health also, Hazare said, "I am totally fit."
The social worker urged the youth to participate in his fight against corruption.
The youngsters brought about revolutionary changes in Vietnam, Indonesia and Japan. The youth are coming together in the country to fight for a corruption-free India. The country is going ahead towards a new revolution by following the path of non-violence.
Hazare has been on a month-long tour of the state on the Lokayukta Bill issue from 1st May.
On Wednesday, the anti-corruption crusader underwent several medical tests at local hospitals here, after he complained of fatigue and weakness.