Pressure mounted for the resignation of BCCI President N Srinivasan in the wake of alleged involvement of his son-in-law and CSK team owner Gurunath Meiyappan in betting on IPL matches even as questions were raised over the future of Chennai franchise.
The 35-year-old Gurunath,who has been summoned by Mumbai Police for questioning after actor Vindoo Dara Singh implicated him in betting,flew to Mumbai from Madurai in a chartered aircraft a little after the 5 pm deadline set by police for questioning.
After consultations at the estate of his father-in-law and BCCI President Srinivasan,Gurunath drove to Madurai and left for Mumbai in a special aircraft accompanied by a noted Chennai lawyer P S Raman.
In attempts to cut losses,India Cements,which owns Chennai Superkings and is run by Srinivasan,sought to distance itself from Gurunath,saying he is neither the owner nor CEO or the Team Principal of CSK.
“Mr Gurunath is only one of the Members (Honorary) of the Management team of CSK. India Cements follows zero tolerance policy and if anyone is proved guilty,strict action will be taken immediately.
“India Cements assures full cooperation with BCCI and the law enforcement authorities,” a statement issued by T S Raghupathy,Executive President of the company said.
However,woes for Srinivasan appeared to be mounting with demands for his resignation getting louder.
The NCP headed by Sharad Pawar,a former BCCI President,demanded that Srinivasan quit immediately “if he has any sense of morality and public accountability”.
Party spokesman D P Tripathi told a press conference that Srinivasan was under a shadow of doubt after his son-in-law had been summoned by Mumbai Police for questioning.
Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy,whose team Pune Warriors exited the IPL couple of days ago,also demanded Srinivasan’s resignation and his replacement by Sharad Pawar.
Questioning Srinivasan’s conflict of interest in the game,Roy said Chennai Super Kings’ contract should be terminated immediately in the wake of franchise owner Gurunath’s name cropping up in the spot-fixing scandal.
“If a franchise is involved in betting their contract should immediately be scrapped. If a owner is involved in betting it’s wrong,” he said.
Analysts say that if Gurunath is arrested by Mumbai Police and charges are levelled against him,it may threaten CSK’s continuance in the hugely popular T20 league.
They cite a rule in the IPL contract for teams which provide for termination if a franchisee,any franchisee group company and/or any owner acts in any way which adversely affects the reputation or standing of the league,the BCCI-IPL or the game of cricket.
As the spot-fixing saga continued,a middle-aged man,who is associated with Bollywood and had alleged links with the underworld,was arrested at Hyderabad airport in connection with the IPL spot-fixing scandal minutes before he was to board an aircraft to flee to Dubai.
Investigators claimed that Mohd Yahya was in touch with players of more than one team,including Rajasthan Royals,to spot-fix matches for bookies.
They also believe that his arrest early this morning may lead the investigators to the “doors of another IPL team” which is alleged to be involved in the betting racket.
Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar yesterday said that at least three more players and one more IPL team is under the scanner for spot-fixing in the tournament.
Yahya,who hails from Hyderabad and currently a resident of Mumbai,was arrested from Rajiv Gandhi InternationalAirport in the Andhra Pradesh capital,Kumar said. “He was trying to flee to Dubai when we caught him,” Kumar told PTI.
Rattled by the scandal,IPL Chairman Rajiv Shukla and BCCI vice-President Arun Jaitley today met Law Minister Kapil Sibal,demanding that a strong anti-fixing legislation be “enacted as soon as possible”.
“Today Arun Jaitley,who is a BCCI vice-President and the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee met Law Minister Mr Kapil Sibal and requested that the strongest possible law should be made to crack down on match-fixing,” Shukla said.
“We welcome the initiative. The strongest possible punishment should be given. We want a law to be enacted as quickly as possible because in the absence of a law,these people are taking advantage,” he said.
“We will soon meet the Sports Minister (Jitendra Singh) because he also wants a strong law. We will request him that a law should be made,” he added.
Asked if Srinivasan should resign owning moral responsibility,Shukla said,”The (BCCI’s) Ravi Sawani Committee is already investigating. Let him submit a report. The Disciplinary Committee will take a final view on it.”
“Let the Mumbai Police submit its report on the matter,” he added.