It’s not all over for Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Facing a two-year suspension from the IPL, the franchise has moved the Madras High Court challenging the decision of the Justice Lodha Committee. In its petition, CSK argued that the actual offenders responsible for betting and spot-fixing in IPL had been let off without even a fine and instead, every cricketer contracted with CSK, including thousands of its fans, were punished by the suspension.
In a strange political twist, MDMK leader Vaiko issued a statement alleging an “anti-Tamil conspiracy” in the decision to ban CSK. The politician, a passionate volleyball player and hockey lover, said former IPL chairman Lalit Modi was unable to tolerate the elevation of a Tamil to the top post in the International Cricket Council. However, Vaiko overlooked the fact that Rajasthan Royals, a team from the North, is also facing similar action. Rajasthan Royals had said it would abide by the Lodha Committee order and not appeal. The Indian cricket board distanced itself from the drama. “This development has nothing to do with IPL or BCCI,” said a top IPL governing council official. “We have learnt CSK is appealing but as of now, don’t know anything about RR.”
CSK, represented by its Manager K George John, prayed that the court quash the Lodha Committee’s report and direct the BCCI to permit CSK to participate in the IPL. The petitioner contended that neither the management of CSK nor its players were found guilty of betting or match-fixing.
Independent of Gurunath Meyyappan’s act, there is hardly any finding against the franchise in the Justice Mudgal committee report or the final order of the Supreme Court dated January 1, the plea said.
Since the quantum of punishment was decided by a high-level committee led by a retired Chief Justice of India Justice Lodha, the CSK camp, it is learnt, will be happy if the suspension is reduced.
Claiming that the committee’s finding goes against the principles of natural justice and fair hearing, George said, “Due to the two-year suspension, the main stars of the team namely M S Dhoni, Suresh Raina, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo will be certainly picked up by other teams to play in the forthcoming season and this would be a huge loss for the CSK even on a permanent basis.”
The inability to retain star players will force CSK to build a team from scratch with the available talent when it is allowed into the league again and it was not sure whether such a team will be efficient enough to compete with the other teams, he added.
Denying findings of the committee that the long history of contribution to cricket and cricketers by India Cements Ltd has been washed away because millions of lovers of the game felt cheated, George said, “It is a hype created by biased TV channels and newspapers… As a matter of fact, statistics showed the last season had maximum stadium attendance and was unaffected by the so called scandal.”
Citing the recommendation of the committee to impose maximum punishment because son-in-law of N Srinivasan, then president of BCCI, got involved in betting, the petitioner said, “If the committee was looking into the quantum of punishment to be imposed in the backdrop of BCCI office bearer’s son-in-law getting involved, then it is something the BCCI has to answer. The committee has lost sight of the fact that the franchise cannot be punished in this matter for the shortcoming in the functioning of the BCCI.”
In his statement, Vaiko said, “Those in the cricketing arena should take steps to protect CSK, which has brought laurels to Tamil Nadu. Recent documents revealed by a private TV channel leave room for doubts if there is a conspiracy by Lalit Modi, who is not able to tolerate the election of a Tamil to the top post in the ICC.”
In the e-mail communication of Modi to lawyer Harish Salve, it is said that they should be careful about Tamils. Vaiko, who is not known to be an enthusiastic cricket fan, said, “Though cricket does not find a place in Olympics, it is popular in the Commonwealth countries. It is a popular game among youth and students in Tamil Nadu.” “The private channel, through its report, had exposed the conspiracy behind the two-year ban on CSK. Modi has misused power and indulged in corruption. He had made some absurd charges against the former bosses of the BCCI,” Vaiko added (Indian Express, 2015).