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The Telangana bill delays Biswal appointment with home minister

Ranjib Biswal

Calcutta: Ranjib Biswal, the IPL chairman, is ‘confident’ of an appointment with Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde this week itself.

“The Telangana bill has kept Mr Shinde busy. Now that it has been passed in the Lok Sabha, and will be tabled in the Rajya Sabha tomorrow, the appointment should come through later this week. I’m confident,” Biswal told The Telegraph on Tuesday evening.

Recently elected to the Rajya Sabha as a Congress candidate from Odisha, Biswal is a former member of the Lok Sabha.

According to Biswal, he’ll be seeking Shinde’s “views” on holding IPL VII exclusively in India. There could be a security-related hitch as the dates (April 9-June 3 window) are expected to coincide partly with the general elections.

“Ideally, we’d like the entire edition to be held in India. However, let’s see how things go,” Biswal, in his first season as the IPL chairman, added.

If the first half has to be held overseas, then South Africa will play host. In 2009, the entire edition was moved there, which led to controversies, enquiries and a massive shake-up in Cricket South Africa.

Whether the IPL is held entirely in India, or the first half in South Africa, security will receive “absolute priority,” more so as there are fears of an attempt to disrupt via a terror strike.

Meanwhile, much as the Narayanswamy Srinivasan-ruled Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) wants the world to believe that everything is hunky-dory, nobody, except those having a direct stake in the IPL, is convinced.

Well-placed sources revealed that the sceptics include some of the “most powerful” officials in New Delhi, both in the South and North Blocks.

They can’t intervene directly, as the BCCI is an autonomous body, but they're watching developments “closely.”

Indeed, the cricket fraternity isn’t alone in awaiting the Supreme Court’s orders on March 7, when the apex court again takes up the IPL scandal featuring, among others, Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of BCCI president Srinivasan.

There are other talking points, too, among some of the “most powerful” officials.

Like the Vijay Mallya-owned Royal Challengers Bangalore successfully bidding a record-smashing Rs 14 crore for Yuvraj Singh, even though Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines has disappeared from the sky.

And, of course, Srinivasan’s global ambitions — he’s set to become the International Cricket Council’s first chairman after its restructuring — despite the scandal in his own fiefdom.

Srinivasan and the BCCI’s brazenness takes the cake.