Question mark over status of Chennai Super Kings: Its principal, Gurunath Meiyappan, placed bets not only in favour of CSK but also against it
New Delhi: The cricket Czar and BCCI boss N. Srinivasan’s son- in- law has been indicted by a probe committee on the charge of ‘ betting’ and ‘ passing on confidential information’ in last year’s Indian Premier League.
The allegations against Gurunath Meiyappan stand proven, the report of the threemember committee headed by former Punjab and Haryana Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal has said.
The committee’s report has come two days ahead of the IPL auction in Bangalore and raises questions about the status of Chennai Super Kings, as Meiyappan was the Team Principal, though Srinivasan claimed he was only a ‘ cricket enthusiast’. Theoretically, the team can even attract provisions of termination clause under the Franchise Agreement, which can be invoked if a franchisee or any owner acts in any way that brings the league and the game of cricket into disrepute.
WHILE holding Meiyappan guilty of bringing disrepute to the game and CSK responsible for failing to check his actions, the panel brought to the notice of the court a possible conflict of interest, with Srinivasan being the BCCI president as well as the CEO of India Cements.
It is for the BCCI to decide now whether the disciplinary action it may take could be a period of ineligibility or a ban for a specific period for the team or only a ban on the individual concerned.
The report also dealt with the allegations of betting and spot fixing against Rajashthan Royals’ owner Raj Kundra and said these need to be further investigated.
The three- member committee also stated that after vetting the information provided by the Delhi and the Chennai police and the transcripts of telephonic conversation with bookies, it has emerged that Meiyappan indulged in betting through Bindoo Dara Singh, who was in direct touch with bookies and punters like Vikram Aggarwal.
” Bets were placed by Meiyappan not only in favour of CSK but also against it. In betting parlance, betting for and against a team is called hedging bet,” the report said, and added that ” Meiyappan also bet in matches of teams other then CSK”. The committee also took note of the issue of conflict of interest raised against BCCI boss Srinivasan, saying it was a serious matter but left it for the Supreme Court to consider it. ” While it is evident that the questions raised before us about conflict of interest are serious and may have large scale ramification on the functioning of cricket, we do not deem it proper to pronounce our opinion on this issue as it is not directly in our terms of reference. ” However, since several stake holders repeatedly expressed views on this issue, we thought it proper to bring it to the attention of this court,” the report said While maintaining that further investigation is needed into allegation of betting and spot fixing against Kundra, the report said, ” In so far as role of Kundra is concerned, the fact that he resorted to betting in the IPL matches is evident from the statement of bookie Umesh Goenka, which was recorded by the Delhi court.” Allegations of betting by Kundra and Shetty, who are part owners of Rajasthan Royals, if proved, would constitute a serious infraction of IPL operational rules.
The committee also recommended a slew of measures to prevent malpractices in cricket and said ” that senior iconic players with unimpeachable integrity such as Sachin Tedulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Venkatesh Prasad and Anil Kumble should advise and caution the various teams and in particular the younger players and debutants about the pitfalls of such malpractices.’’ The committee also gave ten suggestions for making cricket a ” cleaner” game and eliminate evil of spot and match fixing. The report said that ” retired armed force personnel and police officers be recruited by the BCCI to handle cases of corruption and match fixing”.