Friday, May 24, 2013

The IPL Should Sue The Times of India

The IPL has an open and shut case of defamation and material damage against the Times of India.

On the basis of nothing more than unsourced reports of so-called "Police investigations" (read fishing trip) about spot fixing, the TOI and its television arm TimesNow, have carried on the most reckless campaign of malign speculation.

An IPL lawsuit would not even have to prove it has suffered damage from the relentless media campaign by our "elite" media.

TOI was dumb enough to carry a front page report on 24 May 2013 on the loss of the IPL brand value. It said,  according to "well placed sources," that major sponsors were reconsidering their support. In a highly improbable assessment, it said that Pepsi, the IPL's primary sponsor, "may stay till the end of this season but will reconsider its association with the League after that."

Times Now's egregious Arnab Goswami has gone out even further on the defamatory limb, heaping abuse on the IPL its head, and his son-in-law who happens to be the CEO of the Chennai Super Kings. And all on the basis of vaporous talk emanating from "Police sources."

When the new Law Minister Kapil Sibal addresses the issue of illegal IPL betting tomorrow, he should give some time to reviewing the responsibility of the Delhi Police Chief in precipitating the current mess. In particular, Sibal should look at the timing of what has happened.

The Delhi Police stumbled on the possibility of spot fixing in the IPL during its investigation of a gangster. That worthy seems to have been the primary source of information about the three Rajasthan Royals players.

Now, consider that sports betting is dominated by gangsters, and that Dawood Ibrahim in Pakistan is widely reported to be a key figure. How difficult is it to imagine that the Delhi Police were fed the tip about match-fixing, and that Dawood had a hand in it, acting, as usual, on behalf of the ISI-Brit combine that has been green with envy at the success of the IPL?

Sibal should examine what exactly the Delhi Police had on Sreesanth when they arrested him. If it was no more than a dicey tape recording of a phone conversation in which the cricketer might or might not figure, there should be severe action against those responsible for his humiliation. In the absence of any real evidence, the Police are now traipsing around shops where Sreesanth might have spent any ill gotten gains.

Another aspect of the timing of the "scandal" is significant. It came just in time to find mention in international coverage of the the Cannes Film Festival observance of 100 Years of Indian Cinema. It is not just the IPL that our "elite" media have smeared but the entire country.

Something has to be done to bring our television dadas to a realization of their responsibilities. An IPL lawsuit demanding heavy punitive and compensatory damages might help in that direction.

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