Friday, May 17, 2013

The IPL Farce



It’s just about a week since Pawan Kumar Bansal resigned as Rail Minister under the cloud of bribery charges involving his nephew and a few more people. Like I said in my previous post Bansal was the unfortunate victim of the phone-tapping when the CBI’s target seemed to Mahesh Kumar. So the CBI director now says there is no evidence of any wrong-doing against Bansal. PKB must be wondering now why he was forced to resign. Signs are the investigation against him will go cold and he may not be prosecuted for anything at all. The CBI after turning ‘Namak Haraam’ for a week will now go back to being a ‘Caged parrot’ as the SC called it. Someone doesn’t seem to like that name at all. It is therefore reasonable to believe that nobody would be happier than the Congress party that the IPL spot-fixing scandal broke yesterday and served as a great distraction from everything else.

It must have come as a big blow for our media that the IPL betting scam broke. HeadlinesToday had just about started a campaign on Varun Gandhi with another sting in partnership with Tehelka. It’s survival. And suddenly there’s also a spate of ‘Bharat Nirman’ and NREGA ads on all channels. Elections are around the corner, the boom-time has started.  Now they have come up with a new sting. This one is dedicated to Varun Gandhi and his so-called hate speech. HT aired it on May 15 and again in the morning of May 16. But sometimes worse news disturbs bad news. Out of the blue there was a case of spot-fixing in an IPL match with the arrest of S. Sreesanth and 2 more players of the Rajasthan Royal team. It now seems the entire IPL betting scam runs into 40,000 Crores as reported by HT themselves.

The Delhi police couldn’t have asked for such a good PR break. 3 players and 11 bookies were arrested and more are likely. There was worse news. The betting scam is reported to be connected to the Dawood gang with the masters controlling the game in India. There has always been something funny and suspicious about IPL; the format, the auction, strange appearance and disappearance of teams. The founding commissioner of the tournament, Lalit Modi, is himself wanted to for questioning by IT and ED and he is happily residing in England and avoiding questioning in India. It is possible that he is being politically hounded for exposing Shashi Tharoor and his “sweat deal” of 70 crores. In a country with so much poverty the extreme flaunting of money in the IPL does leave a bad taste with many viewers. I had written earlier that IPL is nothing more than toys for grown-ups with most teams being owned by wives, sons or daughters of rich families.

The news media completed the circus by each channel carrying 3-4 programmes everyday on the IPL with farcical analysis, reports and debates. Mostly mindless nonsense! What should constitute no more than a 5-minute report after a match or in the evening was turned into half hour programmes every morning, afternoon and night. While they now scream about the betting scam they are equally responsible for promoting the circus. I am sure such promotions were not free of cost. Times Now immediately started calling the latest scam “cheating a billion people”. Who makes these people believe that all the billion+ people in the country are crazy about the game? Cricket may be the most popular game but to suggest the entire population is crazy about it or follows IPL closely is as disingenuous as claiming Sachin always carried the burden of a billion people. Such exaggeration is what leads to more bad behaviour and crimes in the game.

The BCCI president himself has a lot to answer for. He’s the president, owns an IPL team and his conflict of interest doesn’t seem to stop anywhere. On the other front why shouldn’t we believe that the whole IPL itself is somewhat like a Bollywood industry organisation where black money is the artery of the business? Underworld money is known to flow in Bollywood and why shouldn’t it be possible for Hawala transactions in IPL too. And remember, this BCCI is still a “Charitable organisation” and exempted from income tax. Since February 2013 the BCCI is still dealing with 2300 crore IT demand for its commercial activities.The first step in bringing some accountability to the BCCI would be to change its status from a Charitable to a Commercial organisation. This is especially necessary considering so many politicians and big businessmen are managing the organisation. On what basis does such a filthy-rich organisation deserve monetary exemptions?

Former Sports Minister Ajay Maken did make efforts to rein in the BCCI and even bring it under RTI but the politicians would have nothing of it. The richer an organisation is, the more corrupt it tends to become in India is what it seems. The richer the players get they seem to be more tempted to commit crimes. It is also possible that once players are targeted by the underworld it may not be easy to get out of the trap as there may be other threats that we may not even come to know. And why is IPL such a farce? Simply because with about 9-10 teams playing how can a tournament possibly drag on for 2 months? Even the Olympics and World Cup football don’t go beyond a month with so many participants. All this in the height of Indian summers? And then with cheergirls and comic “strategic time-outs” (which are meant to merely squeeze in 5 more minutes of commercials) the game has been turned into a mere money-making circus. Some of the players have been reported to have attended rave parties in the past. Some have been accused of molestation of women. How much more crime will it take for the BCCI to alter this farce?

After the beating they have taken in the last few months the Delhi police can finally claim some PR success with the arrests and disclosures. They may have done a good job but all the evidence may not stand up in a court. There are claims of signals being agreed upon but then such signals weren’t given at all. So it’s a tangle that won’t be easy to test in a court. Regardless of whether the players are guilty or not there is a good reason to tone down the IPL. The tournament must be turned into a crisp 15-day tournament and nothing more than that. Some argue that this 2-month farce is also draining our top players. It’s not just the CBI that has become a “caged parrot”. Some of our cricketers too have become so and unable to speak of the misdeeds of the BCCI which subjects them to punishing schedules. The IPL is currently a farce that needs to be shortened and toned down substantially. If not, expect bigger disasters.

34 comments :

  1. It has taken almost 6 seasons for atleast a small percentage of our 'billion' fans to get a hint of this farce.That in a country which pioneered match fixing.I am pained to know that even the matches played y'day after the revelations, also ran to full houses.No wonder practitioners of 'Caged parrots' get elected over and over again in this country.This is the quality of 'vote power' that resides in the underbelly of this 'emerging superpower' (with nearly non existant basic infrastructure like Drinking water, power or roads).The rulers have the guts to market it to the world,embarassing even those legendary salesmen who ventured to sell air conditioners in Alaska . Yet IPL keeps them alive and kicking. More like how a slum dweller finds solace in drugs to forget his daily life of tragedies.
    Today, slamming a six in cricket has become so common that very soon we can see TENNERs and Twentyiers based on flight distance of the ball. Conventional cricket will be turned inside out over the next few seasons that it will lose its indentity very soon.

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    1. Very well said. You have echoed my thoughts @Anand. It pains me a lot to see such disdain of my fellow countrymen. We neither have clarity on our life and what to do with it nor any sense of priority. This country could have been a paradise but is slowly degenerating into a painful hell.

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  2. Rightly brought out! IPL is made for money laundering. Crores of people are in poverty and these shameless entertainment in the name of cricket serve no purpose to them. I too don't watch these 'fixed matches'. They make the public fool and still rake in good money. God only can save this nation. I think, if these things continue there may some sort of revolution that may happen.

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  3. almost all the so called experts on tv from gavaskar to that idiot atul wasan and that screeching moron boria (his name suits him) benefit from the ipl in some way or another . they should all declare their interests before taking part in any discussion which they never do or are never called upon by the channels to do so . all one big happy incestuous family. it is inconceivable that the owners do not get a share of the proceeds of the bookies profit or else why would they be in the 'game' so to speak. that the owners and the 'holy cow ' players are shocked is a laugh , only that we are not laughing anymore.cricket is not a gentleman's game anymore. it seems centuries ago that i ate some rubbish sweets in large quantities only to get small caricature pictures of cricketers like kunderan, jaisimha to stick in my album or exchange with friends feverishly. that eminent rascal azharuddin and his celbrity tv expert friends like jadeja and yes - kapil dev finished cricket off for me.

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  4. Dear Ravinar,
    I am a great admirer of your blogs and tweets. Yet, I would like to submit a frank, constructive opinion; I felt this particular post lacked the sharpness, sentence-construction, and logical-flow which is your trademark. No hard feelings please.
    Anurag

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    1. Yes , I also agree with you. There is no difference in this blog compared with similar articles in other news site.

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  5. First two paragraphs are as usual hard-hitting but after that you seem to lose the way. I don't understand why you call Ranjit Sinha a "Namak Haraam", are you sure he had been appointed as per the wishes of the PM and his supporter Bansal? Logic says these postings are carried out by Madam Sonia and her gang,we don't know if this lobby want to somehow remove the PM. Otherwise,how dare out-and-out pro-congress channels and journalists are engaging in debates like-"Has the PM become a liability for the congress party?" etc..We don't know if Sinha is "Namak-Haraam" or "Namak-Halaal".

    Anyway, TV news channels who run their shops by showing bollywood and cricket for 70% of their time are now debating-"Shall IPL be scrapped", they may be called "Namak-Haraam".

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    1. Dear Terry,

      I feel neither MMS nor sonia maino is really incharge of Congress party ! Remember the Congress is a Money making machine which is controlled by many hidden investors. We would be giving to much credit to intelligence of Sonia & MMS if we think they actually plan out all the Congress strategy. I would rather think its the investors who have invested billions of dollars of Black money into Congress who wants puppets like Sonia & Manmohan to continue ruiling India so that they get their return on investment in absence of real strong Government leadership.

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  6. I have stopped watching IPL since last 2 seasons. It is always my opinion that the entire drama is fixed in the board room of a hand full to share the spoils.

    This episode of fixing should at best be viewed as some cheating or misappropriation in a private company, instead of positioning it as opposed to the Rampant corruption, which is of national interest.

    The government should answer; why the hell should the exchequer loose on account of a wealthy few making a fortune.

    I too have a feeling that the players are also under pressure from the criminals. What if a player is injured such that his aspiration to play the national team is jeopardised. After all, like a said, this IPL is not a thing of national pride for a player to stand up against the criminal bookies and sacrifice their career.

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    1. @venky You have echoed my thoughts. This at best is corruption in a private company. No one is asking how IPL Franchises are investing so much money in this circus. What about various FEMA violations alleged by owners. It is a diversionary tactic by DP and GOI to take the heat off them. Screwed up priorities. Lakhs of crores are lost as NPA in banks, Black money in Real Estate, numerous corruptions ridden schemes of the GOI and no one is asking any question! So much hulla boo about small fish being caught. Timesnow screaming "Billion people cheated". How many people watch IPL? Not more tha 5-10 crores. What a shame for MSM to paddle a lie.

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    2. Even I have stopped watching IPL matches since last 4 season. Looks to me all the ED,and Finance Ministry departments are failed to collect the Taxes. Why ? Again all the Politician are involved. People shouldn't forget even in Test cricket our National Captain was Ban by the BccI and later after joining Congress all his sin were washed and he became such pious Soul & Saint.I think its working well for the ruling party that if you can't give your people Bread / Jobs than give them sports they will be busy there that is what MSM is doing all the drama in Prime Time. Why people are not asking questions and rather Boycott such kind of Tournaments. For me there is no Passion and National Pride in watching these Matches. This happened only in India that a almost Bankrupt person owned a Team and not been able to pay his employee their salaries. Who is IPL Commissioner a Rajya Sabha M.P. from Congress. IPL was formed for Betting and money making.

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  7. Finally it all comes down to making money, few months back more than 380 football games were found to be fixed. There is nothing much to wonder about IPL spot fixing as this tournament was created to make money, and was a big fraud starting from beginning. There are lot of crazy IPL worshippers who even forget to eat, drink and sleep. Media make it more lucrative for kids and youngsters. IPL(Professional sports) destroy human relationships, People end up staring at screens instead of communicating with each other. It ruin mental health of the viewers who grow desocialized because of delusional team attachments. It destroys our spirits and negate our political instincts. Govt/Capitalist spend billions of dollars on sports to suppress the rising of the population by showing giving them mindless additions.

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    1. Yes, these are distractions which prevent the Indians from coming together for fighting genuine issues

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  8. hi sir, one reason why i admire your writing is because you have a very balanced approach to things and events. the very fact that you never wrote about banning the ipl as some intelligent people suggest, rather you suggest to trim down this tournament to a crisp 15 day affair is excellent.

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  9. Brilliant - Not only Sreesanth episode fixed IPL matches, he also fixed the Media plans. LOL. If only Delhi Police had keenly watched with same skills, those dropping their towels (and clothes) to rape innocent girls in Delhi, Delhi would have been far safer place. IPL is just a scam to divert bigger scams. Period

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  10. IPL is fake cricket.....just like Bollywood is fake hindi cinema......just like MSM channels are fake indian channels.

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  11. Dear Ravinar,

    Going a step forward, Should we now believe that the CBI opens a lid on some scam depending on the necessacity of Congress party politics ? Imagine the CBI, the Media & Congress working in tandem & diverting public attention as per their wish! Would it be wrong if we assume the CBI opened the lid on IPL specifically to divert attention from its governance mess using the Media lapdogs ?

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    1. Soon we will meet same fate as that of Rosemary in Rosemary's Baby. Adjust to these and live with.

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  12. Sorry we cant continue with this IPL any more longer it has to be banned by Judiciary or by passing legislation.

    If we agree to continue with this market of Gambling, Betting, match fixing, spot fixing or call it by any name then what is the difference between this Hi-Fi Gambling and Lottery System what we had once?

    Today if Govt allow it then this kind of betting will become house hold name as once we had lottery being purchased mostly by middle class and poor class people in the society...Head of the family used to spend half or more of his income in purchasing lottery instead of giving it same to his family.

    Few names I remember of a Lottery company like Mozoram, Assam Lottery mostly North East States, even today we don't know what is the economy of this few NE states after country saw globalization then what economy this states would have had in 80'and till mid 90's...

    Once it was started banning at state level we saw those money which ones used to be used for lottery is going for family needs.

    If not wrong officially Lottery kind of game was first played on ZEE TV, and later it was stopped then after a gap of long year Kapil Dev decided to start ICL, all of sudden our BCCI decided to come up with new version of game IPL with lot of cheers and cheers leaders..This was just to end ICL led by Kapil Dev.

    Just because it has produced few talented cricketers, and allowed cricketers to make money this cant be an excuse for ruining a society. Yesterday Ranatunga on Times Now was Right, when he pointed out country whom we admire of having tradition and culture which goes back 2000 years and more is involved in such unlawful activity...This statement must be enough for we Indians to be Alarmed by ruining our society and we must make a point that we no longer encourage this IPL and make our fellow Indians to spend money on such Gambling.

    What surprises me is that Ravi failed to give due credit to Kapil Dev for coming up with such idea of cricket for bringing new faces from state level to main stream. But he too wants this IPL to be continued but in curtailed format....

    May be today I am sounding more as a socialist on this blog.

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  13. You carefully forgot that BJP politicians also equally involved in running cricket administration in India (Arun Jaitley, Narendra Modi, etc). Therefore, pl don't expect any thing good would happen with respect to cricket.

    BJP is crying that corruption, etc. of congress rule. Income Tax department served various notices demanding tax dues from BCCI in the past. Congress politicians are corrupt - agreed. Why BJP is keeping quiet on this?

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    1. Which MSM channel u work for? :-)

      Ur comment sounds like typical "what about NDA?" by Rahul Shivasankar, Arnab etc.

      U intentionally missed "Former Sports Minister Ajay Maken did make efforts to rein in the BCCI ....."
      Ravinar gave credit to a congress minister for his effort.

      Agreed BJP is quiet. Should we ignore this corruption altogether?

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    2. I do not belong to any channel. I am of strong opinion that Congress is the main culprit for the state of affairs of our nation today. The biggest sin of the country is Nehru family.

      When we see alternative to Congress in BJP - that is not giving confident. Today's BJP is not the same BJP of Vajpayee and it has moved away from common people.

      Media Crooks should be neutral when it comments on corruption, mis rule, etc. It shows its fingers only to Congress - which I do not agree.

      There is nothing wrong in telling "what about NDA?".

      Why did NDA lost in 2004 and in 2009? Even if elections are held today, NDA (BJP, JDU, Shiv Sena, Akali Dal, etc) will not get more than 150 seats. BJP knows this very well. If JDU goes out of NDA, BJP will not get even a single seat in 2014 elections (look what happened to BJP in 2009 in Orissa).

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    3. @ Nagarajan

      You claim not being from any channel. Good! I am not paid by any political party either. I am also not one of your MSM Monkeys trying to "balance" corruption and misrule. Therefore, I do not consider it necessary to be neutral on some issues. If you want monkey-balancing tricks, the MSM is always there for you.

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    4. @Nagarajan

      I agree I assessed you wrongly. Now I can say you are yet another Indian influenced by twisted presentations of MSM.

      Why everyone looks BJP as both spoiler and alternative? Why not Left parties? Why not other regional parties? Even in case of BJP why people expect it to be always clean? Voter could pardon congress for Emergency, 1984 killings and lot of misrule. Why not BJP? Is BJP not eligible even under 'lesser evil' category? Do not forget same applied in UP, TN, Jarkhand etc. Congress deserves a chance in these states.

      Everyone following politics since 2004 knows one fact very well. It is communists who were responsible for congress re-election in 2009. The traditional voters of the Left were confused when it became congress bed-fellow. The vote did not transfer to BJP but to other parties.
      Interestingly no one in Media targets the Left. Simple reason. Congress may need even 10 or 15 seats they can win anytime. Since media does not debate people like you continue to think it is failure of BJP.

      As far as I understand 2004 is genuine and fitting response to NDA government. Sorry, this is not about Gujarat incidents. NDA government could not understand and help the drought hit rural India.
      Even today BJP could not attract the rural India which thinks BJP is pro-rich party. In believe BJP can never attract poor! Congress and regional parties always ready to attract poor with freebies. This is never on BJP's agenda.

      So Modi or not do not expect BJP government even in 2014. It all depends on success, rather failure, of next government.

      As Ravinar put already, why balancing act always? Problem on hand is concerned with A. Why should we debate B C D etc.?

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  14. Dear Ravinar

    Please provide your opinion on the Open Magazine article (http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/voices/the-unreliable-source) by Hartosh Bal . Would be very interested in hearing your views

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  15. Prasanna,
    Today Morning only Ravi copied this Open Magazine's link on his twitter..

    @mediacrooks
    Of all the... SanjayJha holds workshops for @NDTV team? LOL! No wonder NDTV sucks.. http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/voices/the-unreliable-source …

    Hope so he takes on this guy Hartosh Bal.....Kind of words he has used for Modi in one of his article is literally uncultured words for a CM of a State.

    Small Line from this article..

    "The shamelessness of his bigotry, disguised only to the extent that those seeking to whitewash his action,"

    http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/books/the-man-who-is-afraid-of-a-skullcap

    Put him as a Mani Shankar Aiyar of Open Magazine....

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    1. :-) :-)
      Comparing both article one can say. Somewhere Hartosh was insulted badly by congress. Or congress stopped his pay cheque without notice.

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  16. Everyone here seems to herald the capture of three more Indian cricketers, all but one of whom haven't seen international action, as an achievement, and stringent punishment, as a positive precedent. They ruined the life of one cricketer who was caught on the wrong foot, and stained four others. What purpose did that serve? The cricketers were wiped out of the system, but the racket continued. The police should have tried to hunt down the racketeers all the way down to the hub, but they're just gloating in the glory of captured cricketers. And this is the same police, as Suresh said, who did nothing when far greater crimes were committed in their city.

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  17. Cricket is biggest curse on India's youth, students, workforce and productivity. Don't get me wrong. I was once a greatest fan of the game, wasted precious time. Not just the IPL, but the Cricket is also a farce that need to be shortened and toned down substantially.

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  18. BCCI a charitable organization and pays no income tax? What on earth is the criteria for this? It is the biggest commericial enterprise in India. Even a small clerk has to pay income tax on his insufficient income. But BCCI need not pay anything. Shame on Indian governments.

    The income tax exemption should be scrapped immediately for BCCI.

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  19. Today it has been business as usual in the stadium and in the Media for the matches that were played after the IPL scam.One piece of advise for the IPL SpotFix convicts.Pls engage the services of' Escape organiser for Criminals'(EOC), Mahesh Bhat ,to fight their cases.His past achievement includes the sucessful rescue of this own son from terror investigations.Sanjay Dutt was also his client.

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  20. Dear Ravinar, I admire you most for your style of presenting things with those catchy oneliners. However this article had a strong message to ban IPL, Your blog has 2 advertisements relating to IPL., So do something before some Moron starts pointing finger at you..

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    1. @India Against MSM

      Im truly surprised at what you read in the article. Where exactly does it seek to ban IPL? It only suggests shortening the tournament. As for your comment on the ad, since it is made out of sheer ignorance of Google's methodology Im not commenting on it.

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  21. I am really surprised at the hue and cry made out of this IPL!!!!!!!! In all the countries where cricket is played the betting is legalized and bets taken right outside the stadiums!!!!!you must ask why they are not legalized in India like Horse Races!!!!!! All gamble in life one way or the other and there cannot be different rules for different countries. Everyone on top of serious arguments on all topics ends with a challenge on bets!!!!!! Including political elections.

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