Much about the recent Indian Premier League fracas has been hailed as a triumph of transparency. The skeletons tumbled out of the closet because of Twitter: Score one for social media and openness. Shashi Tharoor has resigned, and Lalit Modi looks likely to resign: Score another for accountability. The income-tax authorities and the Enforcement Directorate are in breathless pursuit of diverted money: Score a few more for a proactive bureaucracy.
The truth, one feels, is somewhat more sordid. Both Modi and Tharoor have, only too apparently, suffered because they’ve rubbed the wrong people the wrong way. These are people far more entrenched in the nexus of politics and business than Modi and Tharoor, people for whom there is more at stake than a cricket carnival. Far from signalling a wind of change, this episode only confirms our worst suspicions about India: That there’s no escaping the self-interests of a handful of individuals, and the power plays they will unhesitatingly execute to protect those interests.