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Belatedly, Raman saw the writing (in bold) on the wall

- Board ready for life sans controversial IPL COO

Sundar Raman

Calcutta: Sundar Raman, who'd survived upheavals and scandals in the IPL and top-level changes in the Board, will no longer be there as the COO of the trend-setting T20 league.

Raman came on board when the IPL was launched, in 2007-08.

According to well-placed sources of The Telegraph, Raman resigned either on October 3, when it was confirmed that Shashank Manohar would return as the Board president, or a day later, when the Nagpur-based lawyer assumed office.

Raman's resignation was accepted by the Board on Tuesday morning, possibly on completion of his "notice period."

Apparently, Raman will still attend office for a couple of days more. He did meet Manohar in Nagpur, on Monday, but it seems that had little to do with his having put in his papers.

Had Raman not resigned, it's a given that he would, at least, have been suspended pending the Justice (retd) Rajendra Mal Lodha committee's final report.

That was set to happen next Monday, during the Board's AGM, in Mumbai.

The Justice Lodha committee has been appointed by the Supreme Court. Justices (retd) Ashok Bhan and R.V. Raveendran are on it as well.

This newspaper had consistently questioned how Raman could continue as the COO despite being probed by a committee put in place by no less than the apex court.

Standards had to be set, particularly after the 2013 scandals in the IPL.

Having a fair idea of Manohar's thinking, the day he made his comeback, one wrote that the IPL man "should be prepared for a letter of suspension from the Board."

Obviously, this newspaper's stand made Raman uncomfortable and he'd requested at least two officials of the Board to place his case before this Reporter.

That was during the closing stages of this year's IPL, four months after the Justice Lodha committee had been constituted.

A grab of The Telegraph’s report on October 5 which made it clear that tough times awaited IPL’s COO Sundar Raman

The writing, though, was on the wall for Raman to read. Certainly from January, when the Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Tirath Singh Thakur and Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla delivered their stern order.

Their order has to be regarded as a milestone in the history of cricket in India.

In the latter half of July (when the late Jagmohan Dalmiya was the Board president), one specifically sought Manohar's take on Raman.

Manohar made his point emphatically: That "loss of confidence" was a good enough reason for the Board to terminate Raman's contract.

Also, unless Justice Lodha gave Raman a clean chit, he stood "tainted," even if guilt was yet to be established on any count.

Justice (retd) Mukul Mudgal, who'd laid the foundation for Justice Lodha and his committee to build on, needs to be applauded for the work done by him and his panel on a range of matters, including Raman's conduct.

Or, rather, Raman's inaction as the COO of the IPL.

Raman was hand-picked by Lalit Kumar Modi, the brain behind the money-spinning IPL, but he kept his position despite Modi's ouster in the tumultuous summer of 2010.

Not just that, Raman's clout actually grew after the 2011 AGM, when Narayanswami Srinivasan took control of the Board and ensured he'd become the International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman, in 2014.

Srinivasan relied on Raman for a host of issues, especially in the ICC and the Asian Cricket Council.

That, of course, didn't go down well with many. But nobody dared question Srinivasan on why he was aggressively promoting Raman, who had absolutely no qualms about stepping on toes.

Raman is understood to have played a big role in the restructuring of the ICC and the whittling down of the Asian body.

Srinivasan had, in effect, given Raman almost a free hand. That didn't go unnoticed. It's another matter that quite a few saw him as an "extra-constitutional authority."

There was, however, a reluctance to touch Raman.

Even Dalmiya didn't wish to offend Srinivasan by suspending Raman soon after making a dramatic return as the Board president, back in March.

Dalmiya's explanation for not acting against Raman had been unconvincing. Basically, that his hands were tied till the Justice Lodha committee completed its inquiry.

To be fair to Dalmiya, though, he didn't encourage Raman in the manner others in the Board did.

Raman wasn't the most popular around in the Board, yet he was an "absolute professional" on most matters, as one of the well-placed sources put it.

So, Raman did have qualities which the others lacked.

Eventually, perhaps, Raman's loyalty to one man (and taking on roles beyond his job) turned out to be the proverbial last straw.

Time just ran out for the Great Survivor.

However, unless Raman is damned by Justice Lodha and his committee, he could surface in a prominent role somewhere.


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