Sleaze, slush, slime, muck and cricket



For all the sleaze and slush and slime that I have encountered over the years as a political journalist, I must admit that last week’s relentless exposes vis-à-vis the Indian Premier League really took my breath away. There were times when I almost stopped breathing as names of people I count as friends began to be linked to all the muck oozing out from the scandal.

I have discovered old-time friends in the Kochi IPL franchise, too, and I have been in long conversations with them over the week – sworn to secrecy, in the old-fashioned school-girl way: cross my heart or else I die.

So I cannot put anything on the record, as it were. But if what these friends have told me is true, I am really stunned and speechless and find it difficult to put pen to paper, as it were.

According to these friends, Lalit Modi would have had nothing against the Kochi IPL had it not been for Shashi Tharoor’s insistence that Sunanda Pushkar be involved with the franchise.

“We asked him many times if he wanted anything for his mentoring of the Kochi franchise and he always said `no’. But we weren’t too keen on involving Sunanda. There were so many industrialists from Kerala who were so fascinated by Tharoor and wanted to help him in his goals. He could have involved any of them but he turned them down and insisted on Sunanda.’’

Now I do not know why Tharoor’s heart was playing such a dominant role over his head. As a career diplomat who spent 30 years with the United Nations I would have thought he would have had more sense and an ability to see how awful this would look to even his own friends (as it did — and eventually cost him his job).

Had it not been for this personal liaison, I am told, Tharoor would have emerged a hero by breaking the backs of people who have brought in funny money into the IPL from foreign shores, allegedly laundered near about Rs 15,000 to Rs 30,000 crore each IPL season and been allegedly involved in match fixing and betting rackets amounting to Rs 400-500 crore every season.

My Kochi friend said, “We are the only IPL franchise which has Indian money in the consortium. Every paisa has come from Indian banks, so no one could have raked up any muck against us. But Shashi’s moral issue came in handy to Lalit Modi to trip up the Kochi franchise.’’

There was more: how a certain other Modi threatened one of the members of the Kochi consortium with business interests in Gujarat with dire consequences if they did not abandon their bid in favour of Ahmedabad, how they almost did and how they were then rescued and persuaded to go back to Kochi again.

I used to laugh when readers used to write in letters with the word `phew’ in response to shenanigans of politicians but at the end of those conversations all I could say was a breathless, “Phew!’’

I am not much of a cricket aficionado but I feel sad that the hard-earned rupees of cricket fans in India were used for all such slushy purposes – including, as my friends told me, for drugs. And I hate to think that all the beautiful people of this country were in the middle of all that muck.

But, as a cop investigating the match fixing scandals in the Nineties had told me then, “You would be surprised if we tell you the names of all the people involved in the match-fixing scam. Many of them are national icons.’’

But he also cautioned me against condemning any of the cricketers named in the scam outright. “You are looking at it the wrong way up. Do not blame the cricketers; they cannot get away with anything like throwing a match without their coach, their physio and their manager coming to know about it instantly. So if a match is fixed, there are a lot more people involved than just the cricketers.’’

The entire cricket administration has changed since then but what that cop told me at the time is true even today: these things cannot happen without people at the top making millions off such scams. “What you get to see and what comes lower down (in this instance, the cricketers) is just a few crumbs.’’

In the cricket teams of the years when the match-fixing scam was at its peak, the policeman, armed with tapes and notes of his investigation based on phone conversations of various individuals, had said, “Today, there are only two cricketers who play for their country rather than for themselves: Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. They have a curled nose kind of contempt for those who don’t and so they get treated badly by the others.’’

In subsequent years these two guys became captains for the team and despite my lack of enthusiasm for cricket I could not help noticing that India did better, winning more matches under these two cricketers than they had under their predecessors.

But it is also true that there was a simultaneous transition to a new cricket administration, the men at the top as it were. It is sad that a few of the bad apples remained and some of the new ones went rotten alongside. And the muck in cricket got only bigger and slushier.

As the French saying goes, then: le plus ca changes, le plus c’est le meme chose (the more things change, the more they remain the same). So, despite thegovernment investigation into IPL, I wonder if we will be able to clean up cricket at all !

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  • Sunit

    In the cricket teams of the years when the match-fixing scam was at its peak, the policeman, armed with tapes and notes of his investigation based on phone conversations of various individuals, had said, “Today, there are only two cricketers who play for their country rather than for themselves: Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid. They have a curled nose kind of contempt for those who don’t and so they get treated badly by the others.’’

    Just a query – does this mean Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble were involved with match fixers or they didnt play to their potential or are selfish players. Is that what you are saying?

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    Azhar Hussain Reply:

    Where is ICC now, where are all the honest lecture giving white thugs now. Australian, South Africans, Kiwis and Englishmen.

    [Reply]

    rajeev dua Reply:

    Azhar Miyan,
    Kiwi’s? when have they lectured anybody? ain’t you discriminating on the basis of the colour of the skin?

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    Praveen Saxena Reply:

    What foxes me is when all along people knew and talked openly that there was something seriously wrong with BCCI / IPL , Why did all hell break loose only after Tharoor , a serving Minister , got exposed and had to go. Then there was a statement of Pranab Mukerjee on almost all channels ,( the PM was still away at that time) , when asked if the govt is going to investigate IPL , he replied ” that is not my job”, but an hour or so later all channels started reporting the IT officers have reached Worli office of Lalit Modi / IPL.

    Most surprising, as Pranab Mukerjee is the Minister incharge of Income Tax department. Was he not aware or someone else ordered the IT deptt to shake its leg. Now that this issue is threatening the survival of UPA govt with so much focus on NCP , did someone make the mistake of rocking the boat.

    Nikhil Reply:

    What about the white thugs?

    [Reply]

    Nikhil Reply:

    Sunita,

    It seems Sujata has ‘heard’ a lot from her ’sources’ which she cannot disclose. That is 21st century news making or blogging. The readers are free to draw conclusions; wilder the better. Is it not Sujata?

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    nupur Reply:

    Thanks for your insights again. I don’t think anybody really believes that they will be some radical clean up that will happen over the IPL. Although it is a relief to know atleast Dravid and Ganguly are above all this. Thank God that there are still some people above this muck – reason enough to keep faith in the game.

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  • Raman

    Sujatha.. It is nice that you did not include the name of ‘God of Cricket’ Sachin Tendulkar. He was winning laurels by being silent and making all the money for himself. I will not be surprised even his hundreds were made by paying money to the opposite captains. How on earth the Indians still watch this game? All the matches in IPL are fixed and even the final is already fixed and you can verify from the fact that Sachin is ‘hurt’ just one day before the final. God save our country

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  • sameer

    Ms. Anandan –

    Liked your article! Going by the impressive tid-bits of insider information that you provide in this and other recent articles, your connections with the political world appear to be very strong (which, I understand, makes you a very good political journalist!). I very much appreciate your forthrightness and courage at actually putting into print stuff that others in the media might hesitate at.

    However, I have a small issue –

    Considering that the IPL investment and match-fixing scandals are serious crimes being aggressively investigated, I can’t help but wonder if you feel the honest need to share the insider dirt (that you are privy of) with law enforcement? I wouldn’t presume to know much about journalistic ethics or freedoms, but I believe a person of your integrity should voluntarily let the investigators know the specifics of the “certain other Modi’s” involvement, or for that matter any other politician/businessmen/celebrity. I’m assuming here that you do not have any “business interests in Gujarat” that could be possibly harmed by the state administration there (please understand that I’m really not being sarcastic here, just considerate).

    Thanks.

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  • Arsh

    This whole article is useless.There are no proofs and its kind of inspired by Jealousy. And how it steals money from the fans? Fans would have spent money anyway no matter who is running? Do you imply to say that our ministers would have run better. Its easy to find faults and write sleaze and drugs. This is how blogs survive? There is kind of competition among newspapers, magazines and TV news who can write most sensational news about IPL.

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    Akash Reply:

    This article is useless. Please don’t blame cricketers specially players like Sachin till the time you have a solid proof against them.

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    Nikhil Reply:

    Sujata,

    We do not ask what our celebrity journalists or powerful editors do after hours or how do they socialize. Similarly, why do we care what cricketers do outside the field? Like it or not, private franchises all over the world will go to any length to keep its valued players happy as long as the players perform. If a cricketer chooses to sleep with someone or stays awake snorting some substance the night before a match but he helps win a game the next morning why should I, as an audience, care about his private life?

    It’s easy to question ethics of sportsmen without caring to know that they’ve a short shelf life to make in to any national side. In a country of billion people with only twelve vacancies to boot, why cricketers should not put their priority first? It’s natural to fend for yourself. Unless you are born in to the riches, like Ganguly, or you have some education to fall back on, like Dravid, you are chained to the whims and politics of the selection committee. The new allegations on match fixing seem baseless. Such allegations make good fodder for the rumor mills and in the blogosphere.

    [Reply]

  • ram

    Hi Sujata

    You are take on IPL is refreshing for a change as all major newspapers are reporting the sandal but in same breath projecting as if IPL was saviour of cricket in India. As hardcore cricket fan in past Tamashisation/Americanization of cricket has been detrimental for genuine cricket fans as novelty has been lost and moreover as IPL expose has shown only benefited rotten politicians, money bags and tricksters like Modi to detriment of Indian public.

    Regards

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    Nikhil Reply:

    Ram,

    The term ‘genuine cricket’ is a cliche; often misused or abused. Like test cricket, IPL or T20 is here to stay. Because some slimeballs bent rules it does not make cricket in India the fall guy. Otherwise, the Tendulkars, Kumbles or Dhonis of the world would not put their names to the tournament while toiling and sweating in the field to win matches.

    [Reply]

  • VINOD PANDEY

    Hullo Sujata,
    The IPL phenomenon always seemed too contrived to last for long without someone or the other turning the applecart. Men in charge of l’affaire IPL always appeared fighting hard to control the saliva drooling down, whenever they opened their ugly mouths.
    I refuse to believe that only Lalit Modi could possibly be resposible for all the muck, sleaze, betting,..blah..blah…..Who were the other big fish cohorting with him in good times?. Can we expect Income Tax department tracking their money too?
    When cricket started tumbling downhill with the advent of one-day cricket and its prostituted version, the 20-20 format, all types of baser characters were bound to appear.
    The whole nation has been hypnotised by these characters for nearly two months now because baser men always indulge in deeds which appear appealing to our baser instincts.
    Regards,
    Vinod Pandey

    [Reply]

  • meena

    Its sickening, puky how public is cheated by any one who gets the opportunity. One would expect atleast educated people to boycott such filth. It kind of taints them too indirectly making them abettors of the whole sleaze

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    Nikhil Reply:

    I do not understand how any spectator can feel cheated because of IPL. The new allegations are baseless without any evidence. If you think it is filthy please turn off the TV or switch to other channel.

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  • Drishta

    What is it that Lalit Modi did 10 days back that he was not doing so brazenly for the last 3 years since the inception of the IPL. Every news channel, news paper, magazine were playing to the tune of Lalit Modi. Media is acting as if they have discovered this sleaze, muck, slush and slime today and are extremely surprised by it !! You scratch my back and I will scratch yours. As the saying goes Hamam Mey Sab Nange Hain ….

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  • Nilkarry

    Hi..

    I just want to know why Modi let Kochi team in IPL if he was aware of Sunanda Pushkar involvement. Why these steps were not taken by Modi earlier before BCCI asked for it..

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    Anil Kumar Reply:

    Dude when Modi asked for owneship details then only he came to know that tharoor had bought sthg for his blowjob blow-up doll

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    Rajeev Reply:

    I think everyone knew (including Media) that IPL was not clean. It is only after CONGRESSMEN got hit, pro-congress media, IT dept. is in overdrive to expose everyone who is remotely involved with Lalit Modi.

    In a way, it is good that truth is coming out but looking at our past records, I feel-
    1. Tharoor will be back as minister in 6 to 12 months time.
    2. Modi will get involved in another enterprise.
    3. Pawar will defacto control BCCI and IPL because current BCCI head looks like ‘YES MAN’.
    4. Even Media will drop this stroy for other juicy stories.

    I am saying all this based on my observation during 26/11 and post 26/11. Indians have short memory courtesy sold out media.

    [Reply]

  • Umamaheshwar

    Rajeev,

    Well Said!!! Indians memory was never short till the Media started selling its Propoganda :-(

    [Reply]

  • http://www.lawisgreek.com Arvind Singh

    Three years back when IPL started no one today believes that it will now take the ugly face of money scams ,business for personal profits and finally A SCAM ! http://www.lawisgreek.com/chargesheet-against-modi-here-begins-the-probe-on-ipl-scams-and-money-laundering/

    [Reply]

  • http://www.seslisohbetbk.com/ Sesli Chat

    Three Thaks Admin.

    [Reply]

  • Nathaniel Hamrick

    interesting… <3

    Paul 2012 from the United States!

    [Reply]

  • kyle davis

    Another very mis leading blog. Facts people Facts. You cant handle truth. Ron Paul is the best candidate to go against This Obomanation of our country!!!!

    [Reply]

  • NATU

    PUT TIS GOV IN DUST BIN OTHE WISE THEY WILL THROUGH EVERY THING AS WASTE PAPER

    [Reply]

  • DEEPAK VOHRA

    all officals responsible for protecting and looking ater these animals shoiuld be criminally prosecuted & fired. All responsible for killing, poarching, maiming, poisioning, trapping, torturing these animals should be hanged.

    [Reply]

    joe Reply:

    Is that you Dicky V of Lal Sitara?

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  • raji

    devastation of nature due to modernism/commercialism/deforestation/.. Nature does well with minimal human intervention. Our help is only needed when we have almost devastated them to extinction. And does india have the expertise and sincerity!!!

    [Reply]

  • gee

    It is alarming to read about this kind of poaching activity. Sooner the GOI wakes up the better it is for the jungles of India. Our famous jungles will fall silent soon with this rate of poaching. The nation requires an answer from authorities being paid by the nation. You are paid to protect and your failure needs an explanation and quick remedy.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/siggavala2 Sigridur Johannsdottir

    i live in iceland but i want to help.. how can i?

    [Reply]

  • Stacey

    It all comes down to funding and education. Our governments do not give protection of our living world sufficient priority, because the masses of most countries are more concerned with being able to afford the latest gadget from Walmart than saving a species. We need to start educating at a very earlier age that the world with all it’s ecosystems it’s more important to our well being than the acquisition of any “thing”.

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  • Dr.Yogesh Sharma

    Killings
    should not be Adored

    Nation celebrated Eid-ul-Zuha on Saturday, October 27, 2012, with
    extraordinary enthusiasm and fervor. Politicians, bureaucrats, media etc., were
    vying with each other in throwing Mubarakbad
    to Muslims as if they were participating formula racing. Almost all the
    newspapers and electronic channels were showing the pictures of helpless,
    innocent, voiceless, to be slaughtered goats, camels, buffalos, with the first
    sun ray. This animal sale/purchase was being held on the main roads and
    highways causing massive traffic jams. Similarly Eid namaz was also read on the
    roads and most of the roads witnessed traffic jams. Administration remained
    mute witness to all this. But, alas! In this secular nation where every body
    talk very highly about animal rights and
    non-violence, millions and millions of animals are butchered to celebrate a
    festival and joined by our so called secular leaders and media. Perhaps we
    Indians are hypocrites of the highest order.

    In this country even insects, rats, frogs etc., are not allowed to be
    killed even for medical and research purposes. The gangs of animal lovers are
    there to make big hue and cry on even minor harassment to animals. But on mass
    killing all remained silent. After the festival of Eid-ul-Zuha all the drains,
    sewers were filled with blood and flesh of animals. Road were littered with
    animal skins and bones. Every where cities were stinking. The most dangerous
    part of all this is that deadly bio-medical waste breeds deadly deceases and
    viruses. Even for deadly dengue virus this bio-medical waste is the best place
    to breed.

    But all these secularists, media, NGOs and activists are very vociferous
    in defaming Hindu festivals, like Dipawali (Noise Pollution), Holi ( Color
    Infection), Durga Statue Immersion ( Water/River Pollution) but they are all
    silent on this mass killing of animals, noise pollution and traffic jams (Namaz
    On Loudspeaker on high decibel and Namaz on Roads), Bio-Medical Pollution
    (Animal Killings).

    If this type of animal killing continues that day is not very far when in
    India
    goats, camels, buffalos etc., will be endangered animals. So adoration of
    killing must be stopped in the national interest.

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