Jagmohan Dalmiya's life comes full circle

Jagmohan Dalmiya (above), along with IS Bindra was responsible for bringing the World Cup to India © Getty Images

New Delhi: Jun 2, 2013

Jagmohan Dalmiya, who was shunted out unceremoniously eight years ago by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), on Sunday rose from the ashes like a phoenix to repair the damage caused by one of the worst scandals to hit Indian cricket.

The 73-year-old administrator, who has also served as an ICC President, was once credited with making cricket a money-spinner in India but had to make an inglorious exit seven years ago when charges of financial misappropriation were slapped on him.

The Kolkatan came into the BCCI way back in 1979 and immediately made an impression along with his friend-turned-foe Inderjit Singh Bindra.

The dynamic duo was at the forefront in bringing the World Cup to India and commercialise the game to rake in the moolah which made BCCI the richest cricket Board in the world by the time 90’s arrived.

He was elected Chairman of the ICC in 1997 and managed to make the cash-strapped body a profit-making one with tactful commercial moves which involved selling TV rights and making cricket attractive to the advertisers.

With this, he also ended the west’s domination in the game and initiated the era of sub-continental prominence which is still continuing.

But he had to quit ICC under acrimonious circumstances when a controversy erupted over the sale of TV rights.

His ICC reign ended in 2000 and the very next year, he was elected President of the BCCI beating AC Mutthiah in a well-fought board elections in 2001.

That ended in 2004, but he managed to pull the strings in the election to get his favoured candidate Haryana’s Ranbir Singh Mahendra beat union minister and Maharashtra strongman Sharad Pawar 16-15.

With scores tied at 15-15, Dalmiya gave a casting vote sitting in president’s chair to pull it in Mahendra’s favour.

But the next year, tables were turned on the man, who had not lost an election till then, Pawar coming to power with a resounding win by 21-10 margin.

The defeat also led to the present BCCI regime slapping charges and cases of fund misappropriation against him.

The new BCCI regime asked him to present details of a transfer of Rs 400 million (USD 85.5 million) from an Indian Overseas Bank account in Bhawanipur to the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), of which he was the president from 1996 to 2005.

The BCCI accused Dalmiya of misappropriation of the 1996 World Cup funds and filed a complaint against him at a Mumbai police station in 2006 within months of him getting re-elected as CAB President in pitched election where he defeated erstwhile CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharya backed commissioner of police Prasun Mukherjee 61-56.

But the BCCI increased pressure on CAB and Dalmiya was forced to resign from his state board. A year later as Prasun Mukherjee was removed from Police Commissioner’s post after Rizwanur Rahman death controversy and Dalmiya contested defeated Mukherjee convincingly.

The comeback may be now looks complete as he returns at the helm in BCCI albeit only for an interim power to guide it out of a crisis after being the first to make it a powerful entity.

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