New Delhi : Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is in the dock: he has been accused of lying before the Supreme Court-appointed Justice Mudgal committee, which indicted BCCI boss N Srinivasan’s son-in law Gurunath Meiyappan in the IPL betting and spot-fixing scam.
Dhoni had told the Mudgal committee that Meiyappan was a “mere cricket enthusiast” when, in fact, he was an official of the Chennai Super Kings IPL team. He would also attend CSK team meetings and was also seen at the CSK table in the IPL auctions. Given that Dhoni has headed the Chennai Super Kings in all six seasons of the IPL, surely he should have been aware of the degree of involvement of Srinivasan’s son-in-law.
Senior lawyer Harish Salve, who is representing the petitioner, the Cricket Association of Bihar in the spot fixing case, alleged in the court that Dhoni is “guilty of corrupt conduct” as he had made a false statement before the inquiry committee.
Salve took the court through the material on record, pointing to how the activities of Meiyappan were sought to be camouflaged behind the cover of his being a “cricket enthusiast”. The lawyer said that efforts were made to erase Meiyappan’s other activities when the lid was blown off the betting racket. The veiled suggestion was that Dhoni had abetted the cover-up.
Dhoni’s alleged conflict of interest has been under the scanner for a long time. At the heart of the allegation is the fact that he has led the Chennai Super Kings since the inception of the IPL, a franchise owned by Srinivasan’s company India Cements. Besides, Dhoni is employed by India Cements as a vice-president.
The Supreme Court proposed on Thursday that CSK and Rajasthan Royals should not play the seventh season of the IPL beginning in the United Arab Emirates on April 16, as the investigation on. It has also suggested that no employee of India Cements must be on the board of the BCCI.
In Dhaka, on Thursday, a flustered Dhoni skipped a pre-match press conference ahead of India’s ICC World Twenty20 match with Bangladesh on Friday. The BCCI also cancelled an IPL launch press conference in Abu Dhabi.
Meiyappan has been accused of betting and sharing team information. Under the Franchise Agreement and IPL’s anti-corruption code, CSK runs the risk of disciplinary action, including IPL ban, for the acts of Meiyappan.
Incidentally, Sundar Raman, the man who runs the IPL, is also employed by India Cements.
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