Will fight BCCI’s unilateral decision in court, says counsel
Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra on Monday expressed shock at the BCCI’s decision to suspend him on charges of gambling in the IPL. He said he was being made a “scapegoat by people in powerful positions.”
“I am shocked and upset at the unilateral decision taken by the BCCI and will fight the grounds of suspension,” the 37-year-old British-Indian businessman said in a statement.
“All sorts of accusations were made against me without proof by people in powerful positions. It is sad that without accurate facts, I am being made a scapegoat and put on trial by the media,” he said.
Mr. Kundra said he was committed to developing sports in India and was hurt by the allegations levelled against him.
“Sports is my first love”
“All those who know me are aware that sports is my first love. I own a minority 11.7 per cent share in Rajasthan Royals as well as a majority share in the Super Fight League in India which has become the largest MMA league in Asia within a year of its launch,” he said.
“I have single-handedly provided job opportunities and training to 200 Indian fighters who were doing nothing but misusing their strength on the streets or in underground illegal fight clubs. I am currently working on football to develop its popularity amongst youngsters and also to provide better infrastructure and training to them.
Mr. Kundra said corruption would stop foreign nationals from investing in India.
“The most difficult part of the decision to marry Shilpa was the fact that she did not want to leave India. I made the choice of moving to India initially out of love for her, but have over the years fallen in love with India and all that comes with it,” he said.
“I am afraid that rampant corruption at different levels would serve a deterrent to foreign investors who may otherwise be willing to invest in India.”
“People need to realise that as a British national and NRI, if I wanted to bet I could have done so offshore on any betting website legally. However I did not do so as the IPL contract as per the ACSU [Anti-Corruption and Security Unit] rules clearly states that owners cannot bet on the IPL,” he said.
He said teamowners should be given a place in the IPL governing board so that they could participate in the running of the sports body.
“We owners are the ones who heavily invested in the IPL and should have a voice in its functioning, however till date no team-owner’s body has been welcomed.
Mr. Kundra made it clear that other co-owners of the Rajasthan Royals franchise had nothing to do with his statement. “I close by saying I trust in Justice and India! Thank you,” he added.
Unjust, says counsel
Mr. Kundra’s counsel Majeed Memon on Monday expressed shock at the BCCI decision.
“It has taken a unilateral decision without listening to Mr. Kundra’s side of the story. The decision has been taken in haste and it is totally irresponsible. It violates the principles of Natural Justice,” he said.
“The basic principle is they should have called Raj Kundra, questioned him and then handed him a show-cause notice,” the noted criminal lawyer said.
“But the BCCI did not do any such thing and only on the basis of reports in the media, it has taken this decision. This is the most unjust and improper order.”
Mr. Memon said he and his client would challenge the suspension order in court.
“There is no proof”
The lawyer insisted that even the police did not have any concrete evidence against Mr. Kundra. “Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar has gone on the record that the allegations of betting against Mr. Kundra were unsupportive and uncorroborated. The police had no material against Mr. Kundra to book him. But the BCCI’s ‘super court’ rushed to take a decision against him.
“The BCCI is in a hurry to proceed against a person who is not even arrested and was only called by the police for questioning, but it is not doing anything to those who have been kept behind the bars without bail,” he added.