In my last post, I was talking about how the IPL has grown into one of the biggest sporting events in the globe over a matter of few years. Little did I know, that just a day later, that there would be such an unpredictable twist in the tale. All it took was just a few moments of insanity, on the parts of two of the most reckless public figures in India, to bring the castle of stacked cards tumbling down. A few heated words exchanged through tweets was all that the sly-media needed to sensationalize what has now become one of the biggest cricket scams of the decade.
The media was on the look-out for news that could help them fill up their 24 x 7 slots which was looking rather difficult after the entire Shoaib – Sania saga got over, quicker than expected. Shashi Tharoor wouldn’t have had the wildest idea that his fate would turn so quickly and that he would have to give-up his chair as MoS for External Affairs, after all he was just beginning to get comfy in it! Lalit Modi, the ‘Dictator’ of IPL delivered a nasty blow to Tharoor when he revealed the names of all the stake holders in the Kochi side. Sunanda Pushkar, who the media had brought into light just a few days back as Tharoor’s lady love, apparently possessed 19% sweat equity in the team (out of the 25% free stake distributed amongst many others). All hell broke loose on Tharoor, he was singled out by the media & opposition parties, even his own contemporaries began to distance themselves from him. He was subjected to ‘Trial by Media’; everybody likes to kick a minister’s ass! The Prime Minister was probably more worried about how things were panning-out back in India even while he was meeting with International leaders. Once the PM was back in India, the Congress core group announced its verdict, Tharoor was asked to resign. Tharoor made a spineless speech not fit to be called an explanation, in the parliament, to mark the end of what could have been his last stint as a minister with a central government portfolio. In the meanwhile, the CEO of the Kochi consortium was sacked for not being able to speak English! There were multiple allegations being floated by the Kochi side against Modi but he managed to ward them off with the precision of Sania Mirza’s famous back-hand. Perhaps, the back-hand wasn’t good enough in both cases.
Modi’s crooked smirk got wiped off as soon as the nation was done taking Tharoor’s pants. The government all said and done wasn’t going to sit around hand in hand when one of its own had been hurt. It hit back at the opposition by bringing the Reddy brothers issue in Karnataka to the fore, it also played-up Modi’s alleged ties with the BJP. The IT (Income Tax) sleuths were let loose, they were all over the place like a flock of bees, they raided the BCCI HQ, Modi’s various offices, organizations run by the franchisees, they seized every bit of information that they could lay their hands on. Dirty secrets have started to emerge into the public eye since then, everybody including politicians, actors, cricketers & business tycoons seem likely to severely burn their fingers when this raging IPL inferno is finally put out.
It’s interesting to look at some of the allegations that have been made against Modi, let me list out a few:
1. Lalit Modi was charged of assault, theft & rape in different cases in the US (This happened a long time back).
2. His relatives have benefited from various deals in the IPL.
3. He had requested Tharoor to get a South African model’s visa cancelled, who was travelling to India.
4. He along with couple of senior ministers threatened the Kochi side’s owners to sell the team or face the consequences.
5. He acquired a couple of castles in Rajasthan for a mere 2 million with the help of his close ally & former Rajasthan CM, Vasundra Raje.
6. She also helped him buy a huge piece of land in Jaipur and got him the permission to set up an IT park in that space.
7. He received a huge sum as kickback from the MSM – WSG deal which he used to buy himself two private jets.
8. He formulated & executed a plan where 40% stake in three of the IPL teams would be given away to powerful individuals from the world of politics & entertainment.
9. He played foul and doctored bid documents during the IPL franchise auctions so that his partners out-bid the rest.
10. He has multiple proxy holdings with many of the franchises.
None of this has been proved yet, we’ll only know for sure when the investigative agencies submit their reports. The BCCI has convened a meeting for the 26th of April to decide on Modi’s fate, which in all likelihood will be the end of Modi’s IPL regime. Unfortunately for Modi, he has run out of friends within the BCCI since everyone is trying to save their own faces. BCCI officials have made their stand clear by deciding to skip the IPL awards & the IPL finals. Sharad Pawar has found himself in a sticky situation with Pranab Mukherjee declaring that he’ll bring all those who have done ‘wrong’ to trial.
While the BCCI tries to come out of this tangle with minimal damage by making Modi the fall guy, the government is trying to save its face by appearing to be serious in cleaning up this mess and not just sweeping it under the carpet like always. It’s not just the Indian masses that they’re answerable to, the world is watching, India is again being made synonymous with the word ‘Corruption’. Something tells me that we haven’t seen anything yet; this is just a trailer of things to come. We could possibly be talking about political heads rolling, match fixing like never seen before & multi-million deals that could shake the entire of corporate India.
Even if the ball was set rolling by the blood-thirsty media, this could evolve into one of the biggest scams of this decade & boy, the standards that have been set are really high! A lot has happened over the past two weeks, I can’t imagine of what lays in store over the next two.