IPL spectre eclipses govt's anti-Naxal drive

Fiasco spillover: Union ministers are huddled overtime to give the Centre a clean chit

IPL spectre eclipses govt's anti-Naxal drive

IPL chief Lalit Modi smokes a cigarette inside his car on his way to meet Mukesh Ambani, a top industrialist and owner of the Mumbai Indians team, in Mumbai on Thursday. AP

One of the deadliest of Maoist attacks on the CRPF battalion in Dantewade in Chattisgarh on April 6, had almost forced the Centre to sit up, deliberate and re-fashion it’s security and development strategy in the Naxal affected 33 districts in the country.

The sudden surfacing of the IPL controversy around Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Shashi Tharoor’s indirect stake in Kochi IPL franchise changed the course of debate within and outside the government and the Parliament. The spiraling IPL controversy broke out in the open shortly after April 6 and virtually shunted out a running debate on the most serious threat to the internal security.

With the IPL czar Lalit Modi turning out to be a bigger enemy, the key decision makers — Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P Chidambaram and Defence Minister A K Anthony together with Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar — huddled together time and again to get the UPA-government out of the lengthening shadows of the IPL spectre.

The echo of Dantewada massacre has now almost died down within the premises of the Parliament as IPL  roller-coaster speedily  took  over and became the focal point of  treasury and opposition benches.

Trouble shooters
Intelligence Bureau ( IB) is asked to work overtime and present a report on IPL-Tharoor linkages and  departments like the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Board of Direct Taxes ordered to go for a kill with no-holds-barred investigations against Modi and his team and the original sources of domestic and overseas funding of  various franchises.

Besides the finance minister who is the main trouble shooter for the government, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also stepped in to untangle government from the IPL web in which the government’s ally NCP’s ministers  have alleged stakes.

The diversion of the national attention from Maoist threat is so sharp that the incident of firing by Naxals dressed in CRPF uniform at the security men of former BSF Director General E N Rammohan, who is in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district to inquire into circumstances leading  to the killings of security personnel, went almost unnoticed.

The unprecedented Dantewade set back which  almost prompted Chidambaram to quit his job, has suddenly being forgotten with the government and it’s  machinery. Busy uncovering the dark  underbelly of  the cash-rich IPL  of which a Congress Minister happen to be an unwitting casualty.

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