Why does N Srinivasan need a probe to find out his son-in-law's status in CSK?

N Srinivasan (centre) got away by telling the country that he has appointed a probe panel to find out the status of his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan’s role in the Chennai Super Kings team that he himself owns © Getty Images

If the chief of the Board of Control for Cricket in India has to set up a probe to ascertain what his son-in-law’s status was in a team that his (Srinivasan’s) company owns, then he might as well have a probe to tell him what his role in BCCI is, writes BV Rao.

I have not seen a better devil-may-care performance before a national audience as when I saw N Srinivasan tackle an aggressive media on Sunday, May 26, 2013. This person is the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The BCCI is neck deep in trouble over spot-fixing, betting and for running the cricket administration of the country like a mom-and-pop store, which is being rather uncharitable to the latter.

Srinivasan’s son-in-law, Gurunath Meiyappan, known till recently as the owner or at least as one of the owners of the Chennai Super Kings team in the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been arrested for laying large bets on his own team’s matches. Everybody is baying for his blood: sportspersons, sports administrators, experts, fans, politicians, political parties and, of course, Arnab Goswami. Another mortal would have sent his resignation by email and slipped out the back door. Not Narayanaswami Srinivasan. He chose to be where the action was, Kolkata, the venue of the IPL final between his team Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians. Not just that, he dared to turn the spotlight on himself by calling for a press conference and then demonstrating to Pawan Kumar Bansal what a fool he was to resign because a nephew allegedly made some money. Aggressive as it was, the media could not breach his “I did nothing wrong” defence.

For a man under such public condemnation, Srinivasan did not flinch even once, did not raise his voice once, forget about getting agitated, angry or losing his shirt. And he did all this while was to feed the son-in-law to the wolves. That was a mighty impressive performance, one that Harvard Business School should pick up as a case study on how to goof through adversity.

Imagine, he got away by telling the country that he has appointed a probe panel to find out the status of his son-in-law in the CSK team that he himself owns (he said “Let the probe find out what his status in the team is,” or something to that effect when asked why Gurunath, if he was not an owner of CSK, used to represent it at IPL auctions etc). What a neat act! I will be keenly looking forward to the phenomenal sleuthing around the panel will have to do before they find out what Meiyappan was doing in his team, ball-boy, CEO, principal or just an “enthusiast”. But, well before that, to save time, I think the panel should find out what Mr Srinivasan knows about himself. For example, does Mr Srinivasan, know or remember:

a. That he is the president of the BCCI? 
b. That he is the boss of India Cements?
c. That India Cements is the owner of CSK?
d. That he, unlike his son-in-law, is not just a cricket “enthusiast” who has been allowed to behave like a team owner?
e. That he is indeed Narayanaswami Srinivasan?

Else, he will set up a separate panel to find out answers to all the above!

(BV Rao is among the most well-known and respected journalists in India, who has been in the profession for 27 years. Currently he is Editor of www.governancenow.com, a public policy and national affairs print and online publication. He has worked in very senior positions in print, broadcast and web. He has done the monthlies, fortnightlies, the weeklies and the dailies. He has done the tabloids and the broadsheets. So also the morningers and the eveningers. Additionally, he maintains a blog that keeps a vigil on the quality of content in the media, media ethics and issues that confront the profession)