Seeking to give a new twist to the ouster of Sourav Ganguly from the Indian cricket team, former BCCI president I S Bindra has accused Jagmohan Dalmiya of masterminding the exit of the former captain for his political survival.
Bindra said he thought it was necessary to throw more light on the "sinister campaign" leading to the dethroning of Ganguly after it was suggested to him that Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar's faction was behind the Bengal cricketer's present predicament.
In a write-up posted on the Punjab Cricket Association's website, Bindra has given a detailed account of the events leading to the ouster of Ganguly while scotching suggestions that the anti-Dalmiya faction had anything to do with the entire episode.
"... Ganguly's present predicament and trauma have nothing to do with the equations in the Board. He has unwittingly been dragged into the unsavoury happenings in Kolkata Cricket... That's how my friend (Dalmiya) from Calcutta plays his politics. He is prepared to sacrifice even his near and dear for his political survival," the PCA chief says.
"It is common knowledge that four out of five selectors report to Kolkata for instructions. Even Sourav may not believe the preposterous story that he's the victim of Board politics. It is apparent as to who is calling the shots and if he looks back and pieces together the advice he got from various people, he can track down the real culprit responsible for his present misery."
Bindra says the moment Dalmiya realised that Ganguly had "outlived his utility"; he had no hesitation in dumping him for his own political survival.
"The moment he realised the elegant left-handed batsman has outlived his utility, he quickly seized the first available opportunity to dump him.
"See how carefully Sourav's exit was planned. Ever heard the Board asking for an exhaustive report from a coach midway through the tour. And that too for what. If the Board was interested in sorting out the spat between Greg and Sourav, its president or any other senior official should have rushed to Zimbabwe the moment the coach and the captain started fighting openly. Moreover, why such a confidential and explosive e-mail was asked to be sent to so many people," he says.
"I have a sneaky suspicion that someone led Ganguly up the garden path by advising him to deliberately make his differences with Greg public. Then Greg was asked for his version. Then the mother of all leaks, a copy of the confidential e-mail from Greg was quietly handed over to a vernacular journalist."
Bindra says Dalmiya's aim behind the e-mail leak was to deflect public attention but his move backfired.
"If Jaggu (Jagmohan) thought the leak would deflect public attention from his own trickery at the now aborted Annual General meeting, he was mistaken. The AGM was not put off because of the extraneous reasons but because of his bullying tactics of filibustering to delay the election."
The PCA chief says Dalmiya rushing to Chennai a day before the Review Meeting in Mumbai betrayed his desperation to wriggle out of the hole he had pushed himself into.
"Jaggu's next move exposed him completely. He is not the one to run to the mountain. Someone who used to summon the first overseas coach of the Indian team, John Wright, to Kolkata to discuss sundry things, he was seen flying out to Chennai, taking a late night flight en route to Mumbai for the Review Committee meeting the next day.
"All for a late night meeting with Greg to douse the raging fire. What on earth made him do that? Sheer desperation to wriggle out of the hole he had pushed himself into. A deal was struck and contours of which are emerging gradually."
Bindra also accuses Dalmiya of exploiting Ganguly's elbow injury.
"Just when he (Dalmiya) was looking for an escape route, Sourav's elbow came in handy for him. If I know Jaggu, he would have advised Sourav not to play in the Challengers in Mohali...
"Once Sourav failed to turn up at Mohali, things started to fall in place for Jaggu. He next told the national selectors to spread the story in the media two days before they were to meet to name the captain that they had no choice but to give captaincy to Rahul Dravid since Sourav didn't play in the Challengers on grounds of fitness.
"The media plants were nothing but a balloon to gauge public reaction as well as to prepare the Kolkattans for the dethroning of Sourav."