Once allegations started surfacing against Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of BCCI president N. Srinivasan, attempts were made to erase proof of his links with Chennai Super Kings, the Supreme Court-appointed committee has said.
In its report submitted to the court on Monday, the panel, headed by Justice Mukul Mudgal, said: “Representatives of India Cements [whose promoters own Chennai Super Kings], contended before the committee that Mr. Meiyappan had no share-holding in India Cements, and hence he cannot be considered owner of CSK. Further, [captain] M.S. Dhoni, Mr. Srinivasan and India Cements officials took the stand that Meiyappan had nothing to do with the cricketing affairs of CSK and was a mere cricket enthusiast supporting the team [in the Indian Premier League].”
However, it came to light during the probe by the committee, which sought to ascertain from various persons Mr. Meiyappan’s role and position in CSK, that he “would be with the team during practice sessions, would be present during team meetings, at the auction table, in the owners’ dugout, participated in the IPL owners meeting, travelled with the team, participated in the IPL owners’ workshop, representing himself to be the owner of the CSK, and held out to the world at large as the Team Principal/Team Owner of the CSK. It was also brought to our notice that once allegations started surfacing against Mr. Meiyappan, there were efforts to erase proof of Mr. Meiyyappan’s link with CSK,” the report said.
C.A. Sundaram, senior counsel for the BCCI, said: “Even if Meiyappan, acting on behalf of CSK, had resorted to betting, it was not within the knowledge of or with the consent of India Cements, where he did not hold an official position. He also submitted that the team should not be given a punishment disproportionate to the infraction by Meiyappan, and not India Cements. When asked whether the precedent of a penalty of one-year ban on an Indian player and a reprimand to the franchisee which sought his transfer contrary to the rules showed a dichotomy, he [counsel] submitted that perhaps both the franchise and the player should have been given the same punishment, i.e., reprimanded,” the report said.
However, “the committee is of the view that the infraction of the rules prohibiting betting by a team official has occurred, and except [on] February 8, 2014, when senior counsel adopted the stand that CSK should not be punished for the actions of Meiyappan, the franchisee owners (Indian Cement) have defended the actions of the franchisee by contending that Mr. Gurunath Meiyappan was not related in any way to the franchisee. The stand taken by the franchisee appears to be contradicting the factual position.”
In conclusion, “the committee finds [that] Mr. Meiyappan is in violation of Sections 2.2.1 and 2.14 of the IPL Operational Rules for bringing the game into disrepute, Articles 2.2.1, 2.2.2, and 2.2.3 of the IPL Anti-Corruption Code for his acts of betting and Articles 2.4.4 of the IPL Code of Conduct for Players and Team Officials for bringing disrepute to cricket. The said illegal acts further stand accentuated in light of his position/role in CSK.” ”
On March 7, the court will resume hearing the case.
On Monday, the Bench made it clear that the IPL auction, scheduled for February 12 and 13 in Bangalore, could go on without prejudice to the report.