Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi in his latest radio broadcast series “Mann kee baat” dwelt on the menace of drugs. Urging youth to shun drugs Mr. Modi said that apart from their debilitating effect on health and addiction the strongest argument against drugs arose from the risk that money generated by the narcotics trade was used for funding terrorism. Mr. Modi asked youth: “Have you ever thought that the money you spend on drugs might be going to terrorists who buy bullets to kill our soldiers? You also love Mother India. How can you help terrorists?” That is a good question. There is just one troubling aspect. Is the Prime Minister’s deep concern expressed over funding of terrorism genuine?
These doubts arise from Mr. Modi’s inexplicable response to the IPL cricket scam involving Dawood Ibrahim’s betting syndicate. Very few people appreciate the extent of the IPL cricket betting and match fixing scam. To get some perspective of this one needs to read the two books on cricket match fixing, Bettors Beware and Inside the Boundary Line, written by former Railway Ministry official, anti-corruption crusader and authorn Mr. Atul Kumar. It is not just a stray player who is guilty. The IPL scam is a huge organized mega operation involving players, team owners, officials and politicians. It is a criminal industry. What is most sinister is the fact that the mastermind controlling the betting syndicates is Dawood Ibrahim who according to police investigations most likely uses funds generated by the scam to finance terrorists.
The Supreme Court (SC) panel headed by Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal inquiring into the IPL scam criticized the police for negligence in following up the terrorist angle. The Judges said: “Mumbai police admitted that protection by the underworld is essential to run the organized betting syndicate in Mumbai. The police failed to inform the panel as to which gang gives this protection to the betting operation….There is therefore cause for a distinct impression that for reasons not satisfactorily explained, the Mumbai police was not willing to investigate the involvement of Dawood Ibrahim in the betting racket.” What could be the cause of the police reluctance to pursue the probe against Dawood Ibrahim as the SC has indicated?
Could it not be the fact that the BCCI management board that oversaw the affairs of the IPL consisted of India’s top politicians and therefore the reluctance? During the height of the revelations about Dawood’s involvement the board members included among others Mr. Narendra Mod and Mr. Arun Jaitley. The media is obsessed with the fate of BCCI President Mr. Srinivasan. That is a minor issue. Even the mysterious death of Sunanda Pushkar, late wife of Mr. Shashi Tharoor, immediately after she threatened to spill the beans about the murky details of the IPL scam to the media, was just a sub-plot. The main issue is the terror funding enabled by the IPL scam. Mr. Modi is worried about drugs funding terror. What about IPL match fixing?