The output was hardly surprising, given the input. The two-man probe panel had to depend on the Board of Control for Cricket in India for its inputs while investigating issues involving the BCCI. Conflict of Interest continued to be the theme, but it is not a concept that is in the board's book. Lack of transparency, yes. Lack of accountability, yes. But no conflict of interest.
So everybody is pure as the driven snow, perhaps purer, and N Srinivasan is ready to move back into the chair from which he appeared to be merely taking a toilet break. Rajiv Shukla continues as the chairman of the IPL Governing Council (because his resignation "was not accepted") and will chair the meeting when the probe committee's report is placed before it on August 2. The poet Robert Browning was probably anticipating this moment when he wrote in the 19th century: God's in his heaven, all's right with the world.
(Note: Adjoining is a representational image only.)
Except, of course that all's not right with the world. The world of IPL. Given the seriousness of the charges - spot-fixing, betting on one's team, involvement of underworld dons - there is an arrogance about the casual way the BCCI has given itself a certificate of character. "Lack of evidence" is not the same as "clean chit". And there is lack of evidence because the BCCI is not going to supply it, and the police are not about to jeopardise their case by releasing information prematurely. The probe panel's hands were tied, yet it would have been more appropriate if the two High Court judges in it had emphasised the unavailability of evidence rather than the implied innocence of those they were investigating. Or perhaps they did, and it was given a spin by the BCCI at its press conference.
It transpires that no one involved - not Gurunath Meiyappan of Chennai Super Kings, better known as Srinivasan's son-in-law, not Raj Kundra of Rajasthan Royals - is a betting man, so it is unlikely they would have bet on the outcome of the probe where access to information was controlled by the BCCI. Yet, it is unlikely that they or anyone else in the board spent sleepless nights while awaiting the verdict.
Remember that popular song We are Family? A portion of it goes: Ev'ryone can see we're together/ As we walk on by/ And we fly just like birds of a feather/ Just let me state for the record/ We're giving love in a family dose.
It is so touching that the BCCI is a family. Everybody leans on everybody else. Some for support, others while making threats. We are getting love in a family dose.
Srinivasan, who thinks everyone is jealous because he is Dhoni's friend (if I said that, experts at some of our psychiatric institutions would look at me with professional interest) will be laughing all the way to the board elections in September. His son-in-law might have to answer a higher authority - the police and the courts - if he is mentioned in the charge sheet. Kundra is probably grateful for this because if Meiyappan is let off, then he cannot be punished (by the BCCI) for betting on the team if that is proved. We are family.
Spot-fixing is difficult to prove in a court of law. In any case, we have no specific laws under which to try players involved. But betting is another matter. So too is bringing the game into disrepute. There is something worrying about the IPL. Yet the BCCI's priority seems to be to give clean chits to its loved ones, and move on to the September elections where favours will be called in. We are family.