Meiyappan guilty of illegal IPL betting: Panel

Meiyappan guilty of illegal IPL betting: Panel

A three-member probe committee appointed by the Supreme Court has found Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of BCCI president N Srinivasan, guilty of “regularly placing bets” in Indian Premier League (IPL) matches and raised an alarm over the issue of conflict of interest, saying it could have large-scale ramifications.

The committee, headed by Justice (retd) Mukul Mudgal, rejected Srinivasan’s claim that Meiyappan had nothing to do with cricketing affairs of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and that he was a mere “cricket enthusiast”. The committee found him to be CSK’s “face” and “team official”. The franchise is owned by Srinivasan's India Cements and captained by national skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

“The role of Meiyappan in CSK as a team official and the allegations of betting and passing on information against him stand proved. However, the allegations of fixing require further investigation,” read the report, which also recommended that the role of Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra in betting should be probed further.

“Meiyappan was indulging in betting through Vindoo Dara Singh, who was in direct touch with bookies and punters like Vikram Aggarwal. Bets placed by Meiyappan inter alia were not only in favour of CSK but also against it.” The committee, also comprising Additional Solicitor General N Nageshwar Rao and Assam Cricket Association member Nilay Dutta, said several questions were raised about Srinivasan’s conflict of interest. "While it is evident that the questions raised before us about conflict of interest are serious and may have large scale ramifications 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.”  The report comes as a setback to Srinivasan, who was looking to take control of the ICC by becoming the chairman of its Executive Board in July. The BCCI, however, said it would wait for the Supreme Court’s directive on the matter and stressed that IPL auctions, scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday in Bangalore, will go ahead. A bench presided over by Justice A K Patnaik would consider the report on March 7. The committee said no person holding office in the BCCI should have powers to curtail, restrict or define any such investigation. The committee also emphasised that players should not be allowed to own any stake in player agencies, unless they were in the nature of sponsorship or endorsements.

The committee requested the court to order a comprehensive probe by an independent agency and a time-bound criminal trial. Favouring action against CSK and Royals under relevant provisions of the IPL laws and rules, the panel said any person who wished to be associated with an IPL team should also be asked to sign a code of conduct and be liable to similar obligations as players.

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