‘He was the face of CSK; Raj Kundra resorted to betting’

The Supreme Court-appointed panel has held that the role of Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in law of BCCI president N. Srinivasan, in Chennai Super Kings was that of a team official and the charges of betting and passing on information against him stood proved.

The 170-page report of the three-member committee, which probed the allegations of betting and spot-fixing in the Indian Premier League (IPL), said: “The material on record clearly indicates that Mr. Gurunath was the face of Chennai Super Kings.” However, “the allegations of match-fixing require further investigation.”

The fact that Raj Kundra, owner of Rajasthan Royals, had resorted to betting through his business partner Umesh Goenka was evident from the latter’s statements recorded by the Delhi court. “Further and serious investigations” on the basis of Goenka’s statements were required, the report said. In particular, “there seems to be enough information available on record to indicate that a further investigation is required in respect of the match held at Jaipur between Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings on May 12, 2013.”

The report was submitted to a Bench of Justices A.K. Patnaik and Ibrahim Kalifulla on Monday. Last October, the court appointed the committee, comprising the former Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mukul Mudgal; Additional Solicitor-General L. Nageswara Rao; and advocate Nilay Dutta. The committee came to the conclusion “after perusing the information provided by the Delhi and Chennai police, the FIR and charge sheet filed by the Mumbai police, and the transcripts of telephonic conversations. (Though voice samples have not been formally proved by a forensic analysis, the committee, after hearing recorded conversation, proceeded on the assumption that the voice is that of Mr. Meiyappan).”

It said: “Mr. Meiyappan was indulging in betting through Mr. Vindoo Dara Singh, who was in direct touch with the bookies and punters like Mr. Vikram Aggarwal. Bets were placed by Mr. Meiyappan, inter alia, not only in favour of CSK but also against it. In betting parlance, betting for and against a team is called hedging bets; Mr. Meiyappan also bet in matches of teams other than CSK.”

The committee made it clear that its conclusions were not meant in any manner to pronounce whether Meiyappan and Dara Singh were guilty of the offences they have been charged with, an issue in the domain of the criminal court.

(Full report of Mudgal Committee at www.thehindu.com)

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