So Jagmohan Dalmiya is back as BCCI president (this time, without the limiting "interim" preceding the designation) -- and he will hold the post until 2017 thanks to a September 2012 amendment of the BCCI constitution which mandates three year terms for all office-bearers.
Ironically, that amendment -- read with another one, which did away with the restriction that a candidate for the top post had to belong to the nominating zone -- was pushed through by deposed president N Srinivasan and his coterie, in order to consolidate and extend his hold on the top job. Cue the law of unintended consequences: the same amendment now effectively shuts out Srinivasan from making a comeback for the next three years -- and a lot can happen in that time.
So, it's Dalmiya. Who, not all that long ago, was being hunted by the very same BCCI he heads today, for misappropriation of funds. Remember?
In December 2006, the BCCI's executive committee met to consider a report charging him with corruption and misappropriation of funds dating back to the 1996 World Cup. N Srinivasan, then the board treasurer, prosecuted the case. Dalmiya appeared in his own defense but was, in the words of an administrator present at the time, "shredded" by Srinivasan.
The board voted 29-2 in favor of punitive action and, in an official statement, said that Dalmiya had been "expelled from the board for life" and "barred from holding any position in any organs of the BCCI, including state associations."
"I am being hounded," Dalmiya said then.
The story has an interesting coda. In June 2007, the Calcutta High Court lifted the suspension on the grounds that the BCCI had filed a false affidavit, misled the court, and committed perjury. The core issue was a BCCI claim that Dalmiya had been suspended under a specific clause in the constitution. However, no such clause existed at the time. It was post-facto written into the constitution, and the amendment had not even been officially ratified when Justice Indira Banerjee heard the case and tossed the suspension on the ground that it was "illegal". (Of course, it was only the suspension that was overturned, not the facts relating to the misappropriation itself.)
Cut to the board's annual report of 2010-2011. The BCCI treasurer MP Pandove began his presentation of accounts with these words: "I feel the figures, like facts, are stubborn in character. Accordingly, I would like to take all members with me through the figures, which speak a thousand words, without saying." Tucked into his accounting at the very end, just this side of an afterthought, was a particularly interesting item: "Reversal of Amount Recoverable from Mr Jagmohan Dalmiya--PILCOM/INDCOM/World Cup 1996 (Refer Note 7(b) of Schedule 15): ₹ 466,416,703."
The clip above is from a 2010 piece I'd written for Caravan magazine, at the urging of then editor Jonathan Shainin. Here it is:
Twirlymen: The story of how Indian cricket became a safe-house for corruption
So -- I'm curious. What do you guys make of this development? Your responses, in comments, much appreciated.
This post first appeared on Prem Panicker's blog, Smoke Signals.