Fate of Rajasthan Royals, Kundra hang in balance

Fate of Rajasthan Royals, Kundra hang in balance

Crucial Working Committee meeting to discuss host of issues

Fate of Rajasthan Royals, Kundra hang in balance

The Emergent Working Commitee meeting of the Board of Control for Cricket in India here on Monday will discuss a host of issues related to the spot-fixing scandal during the IPL VI, but the primary focus will be on the future of the crisis-ridden Rajasthan Royals and its co-owner Raj Kundra.

Three Royals players -- S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan -- were arrested during this year’s IPL, while Kundra allegedly admitted to betting on his team, deepening the troubles for the Jaipur-based franchise. Kundra’s admission has left Royals in danger of BCCI invoking Law 11.3 (c) of the IPL constitution -- termination of a franchise for bringing the Board/IPL/team to disrepute.

“We will be discussing everything in detail and if need be, we will brief about the meeting,” Jagmohan Dalmiya, who will head the meeting, told Deccan Herald. Though Dalmiya didn’t reveal much, it would be no surprise if the Working Committee comes out with some strong decisions. A top BCCI official said the Committee might reco-mmened the suspension of Kundra, pending enquiry against him by the Delhi Police.

“We might recommend the suspension of Kundra till the enquiry gets over. If he’s indeed guilty then strict action should be taken, and if he’s not guilty then he can always come back to the fold. We will also discuss some other issues, but the main focus will be on the course of action against Royals and Kundra,” he said. 

Chennai Super Kings too were in a similar position after one of its top officials, Gurunath Meiyappan, was arrested for betting. But India Cements, owners of the CSK, immediately disowned Meiyappan through a statement that made it clear that Meiyappan had no role in the running of the franchise. Royals too had adopted a similar path when they issued statement that Kundra and his wife -- Shilpa Shetty -- are only minor shareholders (11.7%) and they have no role in the functioning of Royals.

Royals Chairman (Ranjit Barthakur) and CEO (Raghu Iyer) called Kundra a minority shareholder and said he would be suspended if proven guilty.“Mr Raj Kundra is a minority (11.7%) shareholder, and he has no involvement in the running of the franchise...If however, he is proven guilty, or has breached any regulations, he will be suspended, and he will also forfeit his shares,” they had said through the statement.

It’s learnt that while the statement might be suffice to save the day for Royals, it would be tough for Kundra to avoid the suspension move by the BCCI. The committee might also recommend handing over the enquiry against Kundra to the two-man commission appointed by the Board. The panel comprises retired High Court judges T Jayaram Chouta and R Balasubramanian.

The report submitted by BCCI’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit chief Ravi Sawani on the spot-fixing allegations against Sreesanth, Chandila and Chavan was also expected to be tabled on Monday, but it’s unlikely the Working Committee would recommend any action against them because enquiry against the trio is still on by Delhi and Mumbai police.

Filling the post of treasurer that was left vacant after the resignation of Ajay Shirke too would be considered in the meeting, and Karnataka State Cricket Association treasurer Tallam Venkatesh is the front-runner for the post.