Aditya Verma is a man on a mission. The secretary of the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB), which is fighting to get affiliated with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), is the lone person taking on the all-powerful N Srinivasan, the president of the Indian board.
Verma, who recently filed a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) in the Bombay High Court against two amendments in the BCCI constitution regarding the president’s tenure and officials having direct links in teams taking part in BCCI tournaments, spoke to MiD DAY about his fight against Srinivasan, the Indian Premier League mess and efforts needed to restore the BCCI’s image.
Is your fight against the BCCI or N Srinivasan?
My fight is not against any person. It is against a corrupt system. There are allegations being levelled against the BCCI and there is a major blot on its integrity now. This is all because of just one person – N Srinivasan. Being an ex-cricketer, there was a need to raise a voice against him. When legendary cricketers like Anil Kumble also gave his vote from the south to Srinivasan, I thought I have to fight against the system. That is why I approached the court where my prayer was heard.
Corruption in the cricket surfaced in the 2000 match fixing case as well. Why didn’t you fight then?
I have been fighting with the BCCI since 2006. The system wasn’t bad then. There were administrators who cared for the game. But Srinivasan is ruling the BCCI like a dictator. To keep his control, he extended his tenure (of president by another year) by amending clauses in the constitution. He has terrorised everyone. Whoever speaks against him or his team is thrown out of the BCCI. Mohinder Amarnath, who wanted skipper MS Dhoni to be replaced after poor performances overseas, was replaced as selector. Chandrakant Pandit was sacked after just one year into his four-year term as junior India selection committee chief. Lalit Modi was thrown out after he had some issues with the IPL team bidding process. Players, who were allegedly involved in spot fixing in IPL VI, were banned for life on the basis of ACSU chief Ravi Savani’s report. But Chennai Super Kings is allowed to participate despite Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, who was the Team Principal, being sent to jail for his alleged role in betting and spot fixing in IPL VI.
You are raising your objection because CAB is not the part of BCCI. If you were a part of the system, would you have said all this?
Do you think CAB could not have negotiated? I could not have been managed (by the BCCI)? I have got many offers to drop the case against the BCCI even by being out of the system.
Apart from affiliation many other things were promised. I wouldn’t like to name that official, but a powerful BCCI official told me all my wishes would be granted. Some people also told me that the BCCI would ruin my son’s career. He plays good cricket. I told them that my son will have his own destiny. If I wanted to engage in any negotiations, I could have done that earlier as well. But I am here to fight the system. Since the matter is now sub-judice, I wouldn’t like to get into details. You will get a better answer if you ask members what they benefit for not speaking out. Have they become spineless to such an extent that they cannot even raise their voice? There are a few like IS Bindra, who object to Srinivasan, but their voices are suppressed. There have been some good administrators like Jagmoghan Dalmiya, Sharad Pawar as well.
There were allegations against Dalmiya of misappropriating funds during his tenure as BCCI chief.
Yes. But he got a clean chit from the court and then returned to cricket administration. There is something called integrity which Srinivasan has completely lost. If the head of an institution is chargesheeted then how can he lead the body? I am fighting to restore the BCCI’s integrity.
How do you manage the funding for legal cases?
Subodh Kant Sahai, a Member of Parliament from Jharkhand, has given a lot of support morally and financially. Apart from him, the media has also supported me in this cause.