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' I'll Clear My Name And Make A Comeback If Required '

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http://tehelka.com/story_main33.asp?filename=Ne040807i_ll_clear_CS.asp ‘I’LL CLEAR MY NAME AND MAKE A COMEBACK IF REQUIRED’ Triumphant after a clean chit from the courts, Jagmohan Dalmiya, the old fox of Indian cricket, hits out at detractors and vows revenge. In this exclusive interview, he tells Shantanu Guha Ray he will take the battle back to the man who started it all: BCCI president Sharad Pawar EXCLUSIVE AUDIO For more than a year, only lawyers and family members climbed the spiral staircase — wooden, carpeted — leading to the central Kolkata office of the man once considered the most powerful in world cricket. Jagmohan Dalmiya has been leading a life of a recluse, often locked up for hours with his battery of counsels. Shortly after his nominee lost the BCCI presidentship to Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar in 2005, Dalmiya also walked away from the offices of the Cricket Association of Bengal. West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya made a prestige-issue of getting the job for Prasun Mukherjee, Kolkata’s Police Commissioner. Dalmiya bowed out. Then came the BCCI charge of financial irregularities to the tune of Rs 21 lakh. The matter went to court. The message from Pawar & Co was clear: it’s curtains for you in cricket, Mr Dalmiya. The big-bucks man of Indian cricket is back in the reckoning with three consecutive legal wins against his detractors. This means Dalmiya — if he wants to — can contest the next BCCI polls. This also means trouble for the current BCCI regime. It will have to face counter-charges from Dalmiya in court that the documents it produced against Dalmiya were forged. No wonder Dalmiya’s phone has been ringing ever since the latest legal victory. Guess who called just hours before Dalmiya sat down for this interview: friend-turned-bitter-foe Saurav Ganguly, all the way from Lord’s in London. Dalmiya may not say so, but he is getting ready for what could be his last defining battle. At stake: the controlling rights of the world’s richest cricket board. Tehelka: How do you see this victory? Is there a comparison or a parallel you would like to draw? Dalmiya: Interesting question. The case coming to my mind is that of Kapil Dev. He was named by IS Bindra (in a match-fixing scandal). Kapil Dev fought it out and emerged innocent. You’ve called the BCCI’s affairs jungle raj. What did you mean? Did I use the word jungle raj? Did you get it from the newspapers? Well, I do not think I used the word but that is the reality. I have nothing to achieve in the world of cricket. I have no revenge to take. But I have to prove myself innocent to the cricket loving fans of India. I am honest. And the battle is not over. I will not take revenge. What I am doing is an exercise to clear my name. Hence, I will continue this showdown and will be happy to go wherever the court directs and whatever heights I have to scale. I have gone through hell, sheer hell. It was like an insurgency. For instance, an FIR was lodged in Mumbai (for alleged financial irregularities in the BCCI). The Bombay High Court took up the case. See the papers. The court said there were police excesses in my case. They also held there was interference from politicians. Can you beat a court admitting this? Not just this, the court admitted that prima facie there was no case, no evidence to prove the charges brought by the BCCI against me. Despite all this, they took me to the Supreme Court, asking for cancellation of the Bombay High Court order. Generally in such cases, once there is a criminal charge it becomes a State-versus-the-person affair. In my case, it was the State of Maharashtra vs J. Dalmiya. Their lawyer was there to argue it out but at one stage the judge in the Supreme Court simply refused to listen to him. Without waiting for the outcome of the verdict, they formed a committee. Any sensible person would wait for the report. But they didn’t. And it was because they knew nothing will come out of the police inquiry, because it was all there in black and white and there was no truth in the case. But they formed a committee and the BCCI president became the chairman of the committee. They sat down and without even seeking the ballot, which is the norm, just passed a resolution with a show of hands. But the million-dollar question is: if you have a president who is a Cabinet minister, who will dare to raise a hand against him. And therefore, when it happened, I had no choice but to seek justice from the courts. It is not that I want to take them on. They are taking me on. And I am following them wherever they are taking me. See, all the three cases they have lost. What can I do? I have done nothing. The judiciary in this country is vibrant and the mistake they committed was that they took the judiciary for granted. A criminal case against Sharad Pawar is quite a charge, unprecedented in the history of Indian cricket. See the papers that were produced in the courts. See the number of amendments they said were brought in by me and hence — to counter that — they were fighting the case. The court found that there was nothing in their charges. When I am fighting for the truth, when I am fighting against an onslaught that is grossly unreasonable, then I do not have a choice. They are treating the BCCI as their personal fiefdom. What do I do? I have to go to the courts. I think I am a commoner in the court, so is the minister. He is also a commoner. Everyone is a commoner in the court. And fortunately in India, the law is the same for the commoner and the privileged class. After this victory, you will obviously aim for the top slot? No, I have no ambition left. If you go through my career profile, you will find that I’ve held all the possible posts in Indian and world cricket. In the Cricket Association of Bengal, from where I started, I was the treasurer, secretary, vice president, executive president and president. Take the case of BCCI. I was treasurer, I was secretary, I was president. In the Asian Cricket Council, I was secretary and I was president. In the Afro-Asian Cricket Council, I was the chairman. In the ICC, I was the president. What else? One must know where to stop. But for the sake of my prestige, to save my prestige, I will go to any length. I have not gone deep into it. But there is definitely this fear psychosis about me in the Board. Probably they feel if I am available nearby, they may lose their seat, they may lose their sleep, they may lose their appetite. What next? A shot at the BCCI presidentship? But then, you do not have the required power to beat your rivals, do you? First of all, the post is not there for the asking. The only question is whether there is any ambition in me to be the BCCI president. I think what I have done is more than enough. But if to prove my truth, my innocence, I have to aim for that chair, I will not hesitate. In short, I am not aiming for the president’s chair. But if that is the route through which I have to silence critics, I will go for it. In the last year, how close, or rather how far, have you been from cricket? I was close to cricket through newspapers and television. But then, slowly, I became aloof. I never called anyone, never interfered, never asked and never gave interviews. All I said was that I will only talk when I am proven innocent. That was about seven to eight months back. What can you offer Indian cricket that it does not have? Many big guns are running the show now. And they are intelligent people. One thing I know is that there was a time when my nomination for the BCCI’s patron-in-chief was signed by 27 out of 30 members. Those who did not vote did not attend the meeting. But I withdrew my nomination. I did not just raise my hand and expect everyone to follow me. That was the tradition I set. I have not set a tradition of raising the hand first and then see who else is raising it. If I were there, the democratic process would have stayed. When I was with the ICC, I initiated the globalisation of the game. From 22 members, I took them to over 100. The game needs to spread further, much beyond the current members. Also, Indian states that are not keen on cricket need to love and play the game. That means you are quite dissatisfied with the functioning of the Board. The way the voting was done to keep me out of the scene bothers me. Also, I saw something that never happened during my regime: taking the matter to the police and indulging in rank partiality. Let me tell you something the world does not know. There was a contract between Zee and the BCCI. Zee gave a guarantee worth $70 million. It was in the possession of the treasurer, N. Srinivasan. That guarantee has lapsed. And then Zee went ahead and cancelled the contract. Who will answer for this Rs 250 crore the Board lost? Someone might say this money can be recovered in the next 10-20 years. But that is not the answer. One needs to know why this bank guarantee was not encashed? What is the reason? My case — that there was misappropriation of funds worth Rs 21 lakh — they could not prove in the courts. But what about the Rs 250 crore that the Board lost? Now you tell me which one is a better case for an FIR. You are suggesting that this needs to be investigated? Absolutely. We need to know who connived with whom so that the bank guarantee lapsed. You once called the case against you a witch-hunt worse than match-fixing? Yes, because nothing was proved in the courts. And I maintain this because my case has made me realise that you need to fight your case meticulously, otherwise you will certainly lose. I have very, very strong feelings on the match-fixing scandal, though I was not the president of the Board at the time. To me, a lot more work should have happened. The probe was done haphazardly. Who gave away the wickets? Who slowed down the pace? Who got batsmen run out? A series of tapes should have been heard. If nine players are cooperating, is it possible for just two players — coming to bat at number five and six (Jadeja and Azharuddin) — to fix the match? What about the rest? Sachin, Saurav, Rahul, Laxman, Robin Singh, Mongia, Prasad, Srinath, Kumble and one floater. No one is talking about the nine players. And if only two are doing it, then they have to do it blatantly: either get out, or get the runner out; play slow when you have to score fast, or play fast when you need to slow down. The ban (on Jadeja and Azharuddin) was ordered by AC Muthiah on the basis of one complaint by Bindra. These very points were raised by Kamal Morarka, member of the committee that probed the charge. Why don’t you join the Indian Cricket League (ICL)? I do not have to join ICL to settle scores with the BCCI. To get on to a parallel Board and fight the BCCI is not my cup of tea. I cannot be part of a crowd. So only a patron-in-chief designation would satisfy you? My one-point agenda is to prove myself correct. Let me first do that. Quote BALL BY BALL NOVEMBER 2005 Jagmohan Dalmiya’s nominee Ranbir Singh Mahendra is defeated by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar in a high-voltage BCCI election in Kolkata. The Pawar victory ended Dalmiya’s 21-year-old monopoly over the world’s richest cricket board JULY 2006 West Bengal’s ruling Left Front is split over support to Jagmohan Dalmiya ahead of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) elections. Dalmiya registers a landslide victory to defeat Kolkata Police Commissioner Prasun Mukherjee to retain the cab president’s post DECEMBER 2006 The BCCI suspends Jagmohan Dalmiya for life for alleged financial irregularities during the 1996 icc World Cup hosted by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Dalmiya claims he is innocent, resigns as cab president and challenges the order in the Calcutta High Court FEBRUARY 2007 Prasun Mukherjee becomes cab president unopposed as Dalmiya is unable to contest. But Dalmiya gains ground in court cases across the country as the BCCI falters in the court for lack of evidence. The Supreme Court upholds the Bombay High Court decision, exonerating Dalmiya of charges of financial misappropriation of pilcom (a joint committee of cricket officials from Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka that managed the World Cup) funds to the tune of Rs 21 lakh. The BCCI draws flak from the media for making false allegations against Dalmiya MAY 2007 After verdicts by the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court, the Calcutta HC starts hearing the BCCI vs Dalmiya case. BCCI lawyers are unable to prove charges of financial irregularities against Dalmiya JULY 2007 The Calcutta High Court quashes all charges brought by the BCCI against Dalmiya, allowing him to contest Board elections. The BCCI says it will appeal in the Supreme Court. Dalmiya vows revenge. Accuses BCCI president Sharad Pawar of submitting false evidence in the court and files a criminal case against the Union agriculture minister. Dalmiya also accuses BCCI treasurer N. Srinivasan of letting the $70 million Zee Telefilms bank guarantee lapse which had been offered by the channel for a contract with the BCCI

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Dalmiya responds to Prasun comments A STAFF REPORTER

Calcutta: Jagmohan Dalmiya on Friday dissociated himself from a letter written by the National Cricket Club (NCC). A day before the CAB annual general meeting, the former president shot a letter to incumbent Prasun Mukherjee. The NCC had written to the Army that the lease of the Eden cannot be renewed without its consent. The letter was later forwarded to the CAB. The members asked the president to ignore the letter. Reacting to Dalmiya’s letter on Friday, Mukherjee told The Telegraph: “He has accepted that the NCC has no role to play in the lease and has dissociated himself from the letter. That is a positive thing and I welcome it. There is no question of any debate now... Any help from him with respect to the Eden is welcome.” Dalmiya said in the letter to Mukherjee: “I was shocked and deeply pained when I read the newspapers this morning with reports of you alleging that I had masterminded a letter received from Lalit Seth of NCC and that I was being instrumental in delaying CAB’s development work. “In fact, I have always held that I have nursed CAB like my own child and would do anything to protect its interest and promote its progress. I was duly elected as the president of the CAB, but had resigned on December 27, 2006, keeping the best interests of the association in mind. “You would please recall that after the 2006 annual general meeting, I had invited you to head the infrastructure development committee and we had meetings on October 14 and November 2, 2006… One of the points of discussion was the extension of lease of Eden Gardens. I not only briefed you with regard to the latest position but also went at length to explain the history of the ownership of Eden Gardens from the days of Rani Rashmoni till a couple of years before the 1987 World Cup when there were six claimants — ministry of defence, government of West Bengal, CAB, NCC, Calcutta Cricket Club and Railways. Prior to the 1987 World Cup, the five other claimants relinquished their claims in favour of the ministry of defence. The ministry of defence, in turn, gave Eden Gardens to lease for an initial period of five years and subsequently for 15 years from 1992. “… It is rather irrational to assume that I would instigate any person to write that the lease of Eden Gardens cannot be renewed without the NCC’s consent because I, along with former CAB presidents Siddhartha Shankar Ray and B.N. Dutt as well as former chief secretary Rathin Sengupta, were instrumental in obtaining the lease in favour of CAB from the defence authorities in 1987 and its subsequent renewal in 1992. I am fully aware that the NCC has no say whatsoever with regard to the renewal of lease. “I have not seen Lalit Seth’s letter. But from what I have read about its contents in the newspapers, I can at best state that this could be his personal views as facts available with you would amply prove that for the last 20 years, NCC has no legal or moral claim on the ownership of Eden Gardens. I trust that the contents of this letter would satisfy you with regard to the factual position.”

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A businessman who ran Indian cricket like a business' date=' which wasn't necessarily a bad thing.[/quote'] esp now that we have a politician who runs bcci like ... well... his party

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