Gurunath Meiyappan involved in IPL betting, says Mudgal Panel report

Gurunath-MeiyappanThe Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee, investigating spot-fixing and betting in the Indian Premier League (IPL), has reported that allegations of betting and passing of information against Gurunath Meiyappan stand proved.

This puts to risk the future of the IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings. Meiyappan was the face of Chennai Super Kings, says the report while rejecting N Srinivasan`s contention that he was merely a cricket enthusiast. The team may attract provisions of termination clause under the Franchise Agreement which says that any franchisee, franchisee group company and/or any owner acts in any way that has adverse affect on the reputation of the League, BCCI/IPL, BCCI and the game of cricket.

The report highlights that there is a conflict of interest on Srinivasan holding the post of BCCI chief and ownership of IPL franchisee, and that it is a serious issue and needs to be considered by court.

The report also says that allegations of fixing requires further investigation.

The committee, which was asked to give a report, was appointed by a bench of justices A K Patnaik and J S Kehar to probe the allegation of betting and spot-fixing against Meiyappan and owners of Rajasthan Royals.

Allegations of betting and spot-fixing against Rajasthan Royals` Raj Kundra need to be further investigated, mentions the report submitted to SC.

The court was hearing cross appeals filed by BCCI and Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) challenging Bombay High Court’s order which had declared the BCCI’s probe panel in the scandal as illegal.

The three-member committee also stated that after perusing the information provided by Delhi and Chennai police, FIR and chargesheet filed by Mumbai police, transcript of telephonic conversation, conclusions emerge that Meiyappan indulged in betting through Bindoo Dara Singh, who was in direct touch with the bookies and punters like Vikram Aggarwal.

“Bets were placed by Meiyappan inter alia were not only in favour of CSK but also against it. In betting parlance, betting for and against a team is called hedging bet,” report said, and added that “Meiyappan also bet in matches of teams other then CSK”.

“In so far as the roles of Meiyappan and Bindoo Dara Singh are concerned, our conclusions are based on the testimony of the police and chargesheet and are not meant in any manner to pronounce on the issue as to whether Meiyappan and Singh are guilty of the offences charged with, which issue is entirely under the domain of the criminal court.

The Committee said it based its conclusiond only on the objective facts gathered during the course of its probe and contents of the chargesheet and other documents produced by the investigating agency.

The committee also took note of the issue of conflict of interest raised against Srinivasan, saying it was serious 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 of this issue, we thought it proper to bring this issue to the attention of this court,” the report said.
The report mentions that the BCCI should recruit retd armed force personnel and police officers to handle cases of corruption and match fixing.

The committee gave a ten-point suggestion to SC for making cricket a ‘cleaner’ game and eliminate evil of spot and match fixing. The committee also gave names of people who figured during the probe in a sealed envelope to court.

It is notable that the report favours noted players Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman, V Prasad, Kumble and have requested them to advise youngsters about the malaise of fixing.