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Pataudi says clean up IPL, probe funding

Apr 22, 2010 06:58 PM IST Politics Politics

New Delhi: IPL Governing Council member Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi admits the panel failed in checking IPL mess, calls for an investigation and a clean-up of the Twenty20 body in a CNN-IBN exclusive interview with Karan Thapar on Devil’s Advocate. Pataudi also spoke at length about the role of Lalit Modi and the accusations that he faces. He also said that the Governing Council needs to take responsibility and introspect on the role it played in the last two years. Here's the full interview. Hello and welcome to the Devil’s Advocate. How do India’s cricket icons regard the controversy and the confusion surrounding Indian cricket – that’s one of the key issue Karan Thapar to discuss today with former Indian captain Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi. Karan Thapar: Tiger Pataudi. The IPL stands accused of corruption, money laundering, mysterious and secret ownerships of the teams. It is also accused of conflict of interests and even betting and match-fixing. As a former cricket captain and as a member of the Governing board of the IPL how do you view the state of affairs? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I’m certainly confuse and upset. Because a lot of such accusations and allegations are to be proved but everybody is having a period of free time and people are taking it seriously. I think the government is taking it seriously. I think it is an attempt or I believe there may be some joint parliament committee or something. Whatever is the dirt or canker is we will be very happy to see it wash away. Karan Thapar: When this all came tumbling out of cupboards show to speak for you to taken completely aback out of surprise You have taken it all by surprise or did you have an inclination that there was trouble blowing? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: IPl is going to start in 2008 and that’s not a long ago. Even last year there were some rumblings on a particular contract that was given which apparently had to be reversed. I must give credit to Mr Lalit Modi actually because he has done a lot for it. Sometime his words also upset people also. Karan Thapar: Has this situation affected the image of cricket a game that hundreds of millions of Indians are in love? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Well, if you saw the yesterday’s (Semi-final) match; there were thousands of people watching the match. I think public perception which certainly board has taken a betting. It’s a wonderful opportunity for BCCI to now do something which is at least in public perception and keep everything above board. Karan Thapar: In addition to the board has the IPL as a concept taken betting? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: No, I think IPL as a product is a very good product. I disagree with those people who think that this T20 business is frenetic stuff that goes on. For example the cheerleaders; they may be unnecessary. I think it has got imagination of the people. If you have a situation as you do in India where nobody wants to watch the test matches then how do you subsidise text matches except through this kinds of things. Karan Thapar: So when politicians turn around and say that IPL should be banned or it should be nationalised do you strongly disagree with them? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I’m not sure with the nationalisation to begin with. But to ban IPL, I think not at all. If you ban the IPL then you need to ban cricket completely. Karan Thapar: So you’re saying that in fact the IPL need to be cleaned but please don’t throw the baby out of the bathtub? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Exactly. The baby is clean, the water is dirty. Karan Thapar: So there is a need to clean the water? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Absolutely. Karan Thapar: Let’s talk about the many allegations that have actually been discussed in the press, To begin with the bidding in March for the two new teams that were added to the IPL do you as a member of governing body believe it was done properly? Do you think it should have been more transparent and there should have been clearer rules that were change in the mid way? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Karan, I have signed a confidentiality clause. I can’t possibly discuss what has happened at a particular meeting or any particular correspondence that took place in the IPL and me. I don’t want to say anything before the Governing Council meeting. Karan Thapar: I understand. But let me put it like this. Given the nature of questions that have been raised should the IPL have scrutinized the shareholding of the successful bid; today people are saying there are proxies for politicians, for cricketers and even for even arms dealer? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I’m not sure if the IPL itself is capable of going into depth or scrutiny, if money is coming from somewhere, I can't disagree with you. I think there was a lapse, now with retrospect, now we should have taken it more strictly. Karan Thapar: Beyond the manner in which the bidding happened and need for scrutiny which didn't happened of the stakeholders and where the money has come from; there are also allegations in the press about the deals that IPL has signed with WSG and IMG. It said the facilitation fee of 80 million paid to WSG is in fact a way of routing money back into some IPL profits? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I can't answer this question because you are asking something which is beyond my brief and I don’t know. Karan Thapar: But would you like it inquired? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Yes, of course. We would like everything to be inquired. We want to know where this money came from, how it came, who it belongs to, who got help and didn’t get help. Everything has to come out; you can’t leave a path of it. Now you have started the procedure, please complete it completely, so that at least people get some confidence back in you. Karan Thapar: So you’re position as a member of the governing body is that in all these areas where there are allegations being discussed in the press whether it is the facilitations fee paid to WSG, whether it is the character and nature of the shareholders in different IPL teams or the money these teams have brought it into. All of these must be thoroughly enquired into? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I think so. It is absolutely fair. If BCCI wants to be considerate as a transparent body and this is only a subsidiary of the BCCI. All these things must be done. Karan Thapar: The transparency and the fullness through which this enquiry will help. Will it actually determined whether the BCCI wins back credibility or not? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I would say yes. But I hope BCCI itself is not doing the enquiry; as such it not capable of doing it. Income Tax, Enforcement Directorate (ED) , the registrar of companies and people who deal with foreign exchange regularity are quite capable of doing it. Karan Thapar: So, in a sense you welcome the fact that the way Income Tax authorities, ED had stepped in; because as you say BCCI can’t do it? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: They can’t do it. Karan Thapar: A C Muthiah, a former president of the BCCI has gone public today (on Thursday) to say in fact that an independent enquiry must be conducted. Would you support that? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Parliamentary? Karan Thapar: Well he has not said it clearly whether he means Parliamentary or third party not connected to the BCCI? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Would you say ED is not a third party? Karan Thapar: Perhaps he is talking about a government separate to the BCCI. Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: OK. I see you mean to say something that happened in the Satyam? Karan Thapar: That’s right. Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Why not? I think that would be a very good idea. If BCCI prepares to accept it I think it would be an excellent idea. Karan Thapar: So in a sense it is a moment of test for BCCI. How the BCCI responds is critical to its future? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I would say BCCI can do something which will absolutely ensure the fact that people considerate; an absolute transparent body in whatever they feel the best it should be done. Karan Thapar: Will you be pressing for these things that you are talking about at the governing body meeting? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I will be saying these things. But what you mean by pressing? Karan Thapar: Will you raise these issues? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I will raise these issues. I will tell them that the whole thing needs to be transparent and there are several ways to being transparent. Karan Thapar: Your voice will be heard loud and clearly? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I have no idea. But I will say. Karan Thapar: Unfortunately the allegations that the IPL faces have gone further than what we have just talked about. There are also allegations that IPL in some way have been facilitating match-fixing and betting. Should the IPL have been aware in advance and have taken measures and precautions to ensure such allegations can be made? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: The IPL has been following ICC regulations very consistently and thoroughly as far as match-fixing is concerned. As far as the betting is concerned; you can’t blame the IPL. The product is such that it attracts certain things which are not perhaps as nice as it should be. But if you want to stop betting, I suggest you to make it open. Karan Thapar: So when it comes to people accusing the IPL for facilitating betting; that’s somewhere unfair and unwarranted accusation. Betting would happen in anyway? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Absolutely. This thing happens in test matches, it happens in ODIs, it happens during elections. It happens everywhere when India is concerned. Karan Thapar: What about charges that individuals are responsible for match-fixing. These are unspecified but they have been widely repeated? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Every charge that you can think of has been labeled against the IPL , specially against Mr Modi. I don’t think many of these charges will stand scrutiny. Karan Thapar: But none the less that all need to inquired into before they are dismissed? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I think so. I think it is only fair to inquire. Karan Thapar: Finally one another thing that concerns people is that the IPL in season 3 has gone out of its way to caught an image of glamour and big names. I’m talking about VVIPS in late night parties and the images that we see in the nest morning; a fancy cocktails and pretty women. Do you think that was a mistake? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I think in many a times it is overdone. I’m personally not in favour of all this. It does sometimes carry it to far. Karan Thapar: Here it may have been overdone? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: It may be overdone. Karan Thapar: It may have given or suggested the wrong image for IPL? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Yes. In this country wrong image you know come quickly. Karan Thapar: That can be disastrous if it stays? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: If it stays. It will. People don’t like it. Karan Thapar: Tiger Pataudi, let’s come to Lalit Modi. The press is speculating about his fleet of Mercedes and BMWs and his alleged private jet, even his alleged yacht. Do you believe that he has used IPL for his own business? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: No, that’s very unfair question. I have no idea. All I know is that Mr Modi has upset a lot of people with the way his work. On the other hand I have never known a man who works so hard. He actually worked 20 hours a day to set this out. But he has not appeal to everybody. Karan Thapar: So something about his manner perhaps, his style that it has rubbed people up the wrong way? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I think that is just about the right way of putting it. Karan Thapar: To what extent is his flamboyance, his smart suits, his tweeting even his alleged cockiness? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I think you can take everything into account. BCCI is a fairly conservative body it doesn't like being upset by people who have just joined which Lalit has. But I don’t think anybody in the BCCI is taking his credit away from what he has done which I think is huge. Karan Thapar: It’s just that he has grabbed so much attention and so much credit for himself that it has rubbed people up the wrong way? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I think that is just about the right way of putting it. Karan Thapar: Too much self-promotion? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Perhaps yes. But it has not upset me, not on this part. But it has upset many others. Karan Thapar: Is this flashy flamboyance right image for the chairman or the commissioner of the IPL? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: It is image which he hasn’t changed over the years, he had this image for years. This was perhaps he was appointed as a commissioner. Karan Thapar: There is of course another aspect of Lalit Modi. It’s now known that members of his family are owners of IPL teams, others are digital right owners or holders. Is this something which needs to be enquired into or are these suspicions unwarranted and unfair? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Well you see, let's put it this way, there are certain issues which were settled even before the first IPL met, the governing council met. The board gave permission for a BCCI office bearer to own a team. If the BCCI office bearer can own a team then I think, Mr Modi felt why can’t he have. Question is did he ask permission of the BCCI or not? That I dont know. Karan Thapar: Should he have? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I think in these matter he should have asked BCCI. Karan Thapar: Simply to ensure that everything was questioned above board? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Yes. Karan Thapar: So if he didn't, it was atleast a lapse on his part? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Yes, definitely. Karan Thapar: Given everything that has been revealed about Lalit Modi, given the concern some people have in the BCCI of his manner and his flamboyance do you yourself personally still have faith or confidence in him? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I think if I was in his position at this stage, I would have, there is a meeting on April 26, I would certainly attend that meeting. I would try and answer questions and if I didn't have an answer, I would ask for time and if there was feeling which I got that people were apprehensive I would say OK. I will step down till the whole thing is sorted out. Karan Thapar: You have said three very important things. Firstly I should point it out to you if the Lalit Modi has an email that has been leaked but he hasn’t denied that original and authentic. He made it clear that he will not attend the meeting on April 26 on the grounds that it is unofficial meeting that he hasn’t hold it. Secondly he has asked for more time. He prefers the meeting on May 1 or May 2 so that he can prepare himself better. What’s your position on that? Should the meeting be held on April 26? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Absolutely. It must held on April 26 because it has been called by BCCI which is a parent body. In fact I would have gone to the meeting and asked for the time. Karan Thapar: So you would go to the meeting on April 26 and then ask for more time? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Yes. I will say, sorry I can’t come to answer for these questions. I have been very busy for the last six weeks; please give me three-four more days. Karan Thapar: But if he simply refuses to attend the meeting as he is saying he will would that be a mistake on his part? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I think so. Yes. Mr Modi is also a grown up man. Karan Thapar: You are also saying that the line he is taking only he as chairman can call the meeting and that N Srinivasan as a secretary can't and that is a wrong line Modi is taking? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Absolutely. Karan Thapar: So he should go for the meeting and then ask for time? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: If I was him I would do that. Karan Thapar: You are also saying that if there are serious questions, as clearly there are, then perhaps in the best interest of the IPL and cricket as a whole he should step aside? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Yes. I think so and let these allegations and accusations let to them to come to some kind of conclusion. Then let see because he's kept on saying over the years that at least for the last few weeks that he's done nothing wrong. So fine, if he has done nothing wrong then let them take it out. Karan Thapar: What about the governing body of the IPL. What sort of responsibility they must bear for all that's happened and emerged? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I think, yes you can't escape it. We also got a bit carried away with all the nice things that seem to be happening and perhaps we are not questioning the way as we should have been. Karan Thapar: To what do the extent the IPL board itself need to step aside? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: This is a very fair question. I think IPL needs to actually introspect also to see where it has gone wrong. Karan Thapar: Could that introspection led to whole governing body deciding that we all accept responsibility and we all resign and begin with a clean state hereafter? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I will be surprised. Karan Thapar: You will be surprised? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Yes. Karan Thapar: But do you think there may be need for that? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: No, I don’t think so. I don’t think this going to be run for a long enough. Karan Thapar: But there is definitely a need for IPL board to introspect? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Absolutely. The Governing Council. Karan Thapar: The Governing Council. And to do it openly and transparently? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I think we will do it quietly. Karan Thapar: Do you think that when you raise this idea on April 26, you will be resisted? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I think they will read your interview. Karan Thapar: They will see that there is a clear hint from you to them? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: More than a hint. Karan Thapar: Therefore you hope that they will accept this proposal? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Well I hope they will think about it. Karan Thapar: In the mean time I will ask questions. It seems unfortunately that on televisions Shashank Manohar, the BCCI President and Lalit Modi seem to almost fighting with each other not together at the same time but unseeing each other, throwing charges against each other. Is that unfortunate and wrong? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: It is but I think this particular leaking is taking place. It has to be answered. In fact what I have read in the newspapers that the President is saying that he is actually the person who will call the meeting through the secretary or through the conveyor and not the IPL commissioner. Karan Thapar: You accept that line? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: I accept that line. Karan Thapar: But you are also saying that there is so much dirt that has to come out its bound to come out perhaps at times when distasteful and unseeingly but its better it comes out then remains hidden under the carpet? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Yes, because the product is good. Karan Thapar: So in the best interest of cricket let’s get the dirt out of the way even if its distasteful for a while? Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Yes and clean up the Twenty-Twenty IPL. Karan Thapar: That’s essential. Cleaning up. Tiger Pataudi, a pleasure talking to you. Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi: Thanks.