If a team official indulges in betting… his actions also go against the spirit of the game

Excerpts from the Supreme Court-appointed RM Lodha committee’s report that looked into the IPL corruption scandal.

Updated: July 15, 2015 11:35:20 am
Ipl fixing, ipl verdict, ipl spot fixing, ipl fixing verdict, ipl spot fixing verdict, ipl fix, cricket fixing, csk, rr, chennai super kings, rajasthan royals, csk ipl, rr ipl, cricket news, cricket Chennai Super King’s Gurunath Meiyappan and Rajasthan Royals’ Raj Kundra were banned for life on Tuesday. (Source: File)

Following are the excerpts from the Supreme Court-appointed RM Lodha committee’s report that looked into the IPL corruption scandal

ON India Cements Limited

The purity of the game has been affected

Not only that no urgent action was taken by India Cements against Gurunath Meiyappan but as a matter of fact no action has been shown to have been taken against him. The order of suspension passed by the BCCI against Gurunath Meiyappan after his arrest is not an action by India Cements against its official. The plea by India Cements regarding long history to contribution of cricket and cricketers cannot be accepted in view of the fact due to the act of Gurunath Meiyappan, team official of CSK who happened to be son-in-law of Mr N Srinivasan, MD of India Cements, the then BCCI president. The purity of the game has been affected and the contribution if any made by the franchise has also been wasted because millions of people, true lovers of the game feel cheated.

Moreover, disrepute has been brought to cricket, BCCI and IPL to such an extent that doubts abound in the public consciousness about whether games are clean or not.

Having regard to the findings recorded by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and on taking into consideration all relevant facts and circumstances as noted and discussed above, the Committee proposes to impose sanction on India Cements Ltd (Franchisee) under Section 6,rule 4.2(c) of the Operational Rules by suspending it from the League for a period of two years. The period of suspension shall commence from the date of this order.

Ipl fixing, ipl verdict, ipl spot fixing, ipl fixing verdict, ipl spot fixing verdict, ipl fix, cricket fixing, csk, rr, chennai super kings, rajasthan royals, csk ipl, rr ipl, cricket news, cricket Chennai Super Kings & Rajasthan Royals were suspended for two years each. (Source: File)

ON Jaipur IPL

No urgent action was taken by Jaipur IPL against Raj Kundra

We do not think that Jaipur IPL can shirk its responsibility by terming the acts done by Mr Raj Kundra as having been done in his personal capacity. If those who indulge in corrupt practices forbidden by the rules of the game are an integral part of the franchise in view of their accreditation, part ownership, close relationship and also being team official, the argument that these acts were personal and as a consequence of them if the image of the game, the BCCI and the league got affected, the franchise cannot be held responsible does not merit acceptance.

The general omissions by all franchises found in the ACSU report deserve various attention by the BCCI but insofar as Jaipur IPL is concerned its omissions are grave in as much as its part owner and team official have been found to have indulged in betting and that has affected the image of the game, the BCCI and the league and brought each one of them into disrepute.

Jaipur IPL claims that it is highly celebrates as nursery for players but the fact remains that three RR players were arrested and charged with spot-fixing in the 2013 IPL season. The committee can also take notice of the fact that there has been allegation of approach to one of its players for corrupt practices in 2015 IPL season as well. This shows that all is not well with Jaipur IPL in handling anti-corruption issues.

No urgent action was taken by Jaipur IPL against Raj Kundra when his acts of betting became known. Once it is accepted that cricket is greater than individuals or a body of individuals and financial loss may be caused to a few players and franchises may not be a significant consideration while taking disciplinary action or for imposition of punishment for wrongdoing.

On consideration of all relevant aspects of the matter, the Committee imposes sanction on JIPL (Franchisee) under Section 6, rule 4.2(c) of the Operational Rules by suspending it from the League for a period of two years. The period of suspension shall commence from the date of this order.

On Meiyappan

He is not young but middle-aged. It is difficult to accept that he has passion for game

We find that against Mr. Gurunath Meiyappan, there are many factors which aggravate the nature of offence / misconduct. These are: (one): He formed an integral part of CSK and most persons viewed him as a face of the team; (two): He has knowledge of or was in a position to easily access sensitive information, team strategies, knowledge about match conditions etc. which knowledge was outside the purview of an ordinary person following the game of cricket. (three): He was in regular touch with bookies and punters; (four): Several calls were traced between him and a certain Vindoo Dara Singh (a punter in close proximity with several other bookies); (five): He would regularly place bets in IPL matches both in favour of his team CSK and against his team; (six): Such bets were even placed during the course of IPL match; (seven): He has been held to be ‘Team Official’ within the meaning of expression under the rules and for the purposes of disciplinary action, this position is not disputed; (eight): The sums of money involved in betting by him are quite substantial; and (nine ): Lack of remorse

Instead of discharging his responsibility as Team Official in a befitting manner, he acted exactly opposite to the fundamental sporting imperatives. In order to curb the development of corrupt betting practices, the Anti Corruption Code was brought into force by the BCCI.

If a Team Official who is representing a Franchisee or Team regularly indulges in betting in IPL matches and even during the course of IPL match, the proved misconduct is surely of a grave nature as his acts and actions have affected the image of the game (and BCCI and the League ) and brought each one of them to disrepute. His actions were also against the spirit of game. His habit of regularly placing bets in IPL matches renders the argument of his being first offender and unblemished antecedents in previous IPL tournaments of no worth.

That he suffered loss of Rs. 60 lacs in bets shows that he engaged himself in heavy bets. It is his bad luck that he did not make money out of these bets.

Any agony suffered by him because of media coverage or any hardship that may have been caused to him is too small in comparison to the huge injury he caused to the reputation and image of the game, IPL and BCCI.

If the reputation , image and spirit of the sport are lost, what remains? Being 40 years of age, he is not young but middle-aged. It is difficult to accept that he has passion for the game. Any person who has true passion for the game would not be involved in the betting. Rather any sport loving person would act in conformity with the fundamental sporting imperatives.

Non – adherence to these imperatives has shaken the very essence of cricket. There is nothing to indicate that his participation in the investigation or inquiry by the Probe Committee was voluntary.

On the other hand, he is guilty of not reporting exchanges with a known bookie. Charitable work, if any, by the family business is hardly a mitigating factor.

On Raj Kundra

It is very difficult to accept that as a UK citizen, he believed betting to be legal in India.

As part owner having 11.4% of share-holding by his family and investment vehicle, and team official, Raj Kundra was required to conduct himself in comformity with the rules, regulations and codes framed by the BCCI. Being UK citizen, he had heavy responsibility on him to ensure that his acts and actions were not in conflict with the laws of a foreign country. Betting is a crime punishable under the Indian Penal Code. Besides that, it is an offence, corrupt practice under the BCCI’s rules regulations and codes. With so much of information available online, it is very difficult to accept that as a UK citizen, he believed betting to be legal in India.

It is no secret that some of the players of the Rajasthan Royals of which he was the team official were found enmeshed in a web of match fixing . this is not unusual because when a part owner and team official indulges in corrupt practices, betting being such practice, involves more than one person, the unsavoury elements and bad individuals become more involved vulnerable elements including players to all sorts of corruption.

He is a middle aged person — well educated and well informed — if he had true love for game , he would not have indulged in corrupt practice of betting and remained in touch with known punter and bookie.

Failed Arguments

Meiyappan’s counsel highlighted the following mitigating circumstances seeking leniency for his client:

Meiyappan had:

* Suffered imprisonment from 26th May, 2013 to 4th June, 2013.

* Facing criminal charges before the Magistrate on the same set of allegations.

* First offence, with unblemished antecedents in the previous 6 IPL seasons.

* Involved in charitable work of the family company AVM Group.

* No gain from alleged transaction, in fact he has suffered a loss of Rs. 60 lacs due to his alleged acts.

* Cooperated with the Probe Committee (headed by Justice Mudgal) and the Investigation Team (headed by Mr. B.B. Mishra, IPS).

* Suspended from 26th May, 2013.

* Vast adverse media coverage resulted in untold mental agony to him and the family persons.

* Young, 40 years of age with passion for the game.

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