Meiyappan & Kundra indulged in betting : Supreme Court

Meiyappan & KundraN Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra were indulging in betting in IPL matches, the Supreme Court said yesterday while holding them as “team officials” of their respective IPL teams Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR).

“The three-member committee headed Justice Mukul Mudgal has correctly appreciated the facts as emerging from the documents and the depositions of witnesses recorded by it and rightly come to the conclusion that Gurunath Meiyappan was a team official of CSK,” a bench headed by Justice TS Thakur said.

“That is so especially when India Cements Ltd who owns the team made a candid admission before us that Meiyappan was indeed a team official within the meaning of that expression under the rules. We, therefore, see no reason, for us to disagree or reverse the finding recorded by the Probe Committee on that aspect,” the bench, also comprising Jutice FMI Khalifulla, said. The apex court also said that probe committee has, on the basis of the material available to it, held that Meiyappan was indulging in betting and the findings did not call for interference. “We make it clear that given the nature of the proceedings entrusted to the Probe Committee and the standard of proof applicable to the same, we see no reason to disagree with the conclusion of the Probe Committee that Gurunath Meiyappan was indeed indulging in betting,” the bench said. Regarding RR’s co-owner Kundra, the bench said that probe panel, in its February 9, 2014 report, had referred to the statement of Kundra’s business partner Umesh Goenka in which he had stated that Kundra used to indulge in betting in IPL matches through him.

IPL Scam Hearing: Supreme Court Hints at High-Powered Panel to Decide on Punishment

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday hinted that a high-powered committee could be set up to decide on the punishment for those who breached the IPL code of conduct, including Gurunath Meiyappan, the son-in-law of BCCI president-in-exile N. Srinivasan.

The committee, that could include retired judges, will also look into whether Srinivasan’s role in the alleged betting and spot-fixing scam in IPL 6 and if the role of the two requires punishment and the quantum.

The court also suggested various options including whether Srinivasan wanted to remain in BCCI or retain his team CSK in the IPL. Whether the committee should be external or should be a in-house committee of BCCI, the apex court observed.

The court said maintaining the “purity” of cricket was utmost important for it and hinted at setting up a high-powered committee to suggest measures for cleansing the game and ascertain if there was conflict of interest involving Srinivasan.

“That committeee has to be a high-powered committee and that committee will also look into the conflict of interest and its findings will be binding on BCCI,” a bench of justices T S Thakur and F M I Kalifulla observed while hinting that the committee would consist of retired judges.

The bench said somebody has to take a call on the punishment on the basis of the Mudgal Committee report but the question is who should be given the task.

“We are not very keen to decide on punishment. We want the system to be more effective,” the bench said adding “action has to follow immediately”.

Though Justice Mudgal committee has not found anything regarding the “cover-up” by Srinivasan for alleged involvement of his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan in betting and spot-fixing scandal, the bench said the high powered committee would have to examine various angles and the issue of conflict of interest would be one.

“Conflict of interest issue can be a course correction for future. If committee says there was a conflict of interest in Srinivasan’s function, it cannot say punish but suggest for amendments in the rule,” it said adding the committee would also look into the aspect of whether a person’s involvement in cricket administration while wearing multiple hats amounts to conflict of interest.

The bench said the committee would examine and analyse the aspect of quantum of punishment likely to be inflicted upon persons found guilty of breaching the code of conduct.

The apex court took exception to Srinivasan attending Tamil Nadu Cricket Association’s meeting in November after he had voluntarily stepped aside as cricket administrator, forcing him to admit that it was mistake on his part. The apex court said the most important thing for them was to ensure that there should be a purity of game and to look into the remedial aspect from the committee.

“BCCI creates in minds an illusion that the game is fair but the entire nation feels cheated. Is there any remedy as otherwise what will happen to the nation?” it said.

While senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Srinivasan, assured that Srinavasan would keep away from the day-to-day administration of the game on being elected after the upcoming election, the counsel for Cricket Association of Bihar Nalini Chidambraram submitted he should not be allowed to contest at all.

However, the bench said since Justice Mudgal Committee has not found anything against Srinivasan and wondered if it would be proper to keep him away from contesting election.

“In this background, is Srinivasan not eligible to contest election? On what juristic principle can we stop him at this stage?” the bench observed adding that addressing the issue of election at this stage would mean that there is an issue of disqualifying him from contesting the election.

Referring to the issue of conflict of interest, the bench said the high-powered committee can say it can be a basis for disqualification in future.

The bench disagreed with Chidambaram’s submission that BCCI’s administration was being run illegally as the term of office-bearers has ended in September and they are unauthorisedly running the affairs of BCCI as date of election has passed.

The hearing will resume on Wednesday and could possibly last for an entire day.

N Srinivasan offers five alternatives to SC to decide course of action

BCCI on Tuesday replied to the SC with five alternatives in order to decide on the course of action or punishment to those found guilty in the IPL spot-fixing and betting case.

Following are the five options that BCCI submitted to the court.

  • BCCI’s internal disciplinary committee may look after the issue.
  • BCCI may nominate a committee of two independent experts
  • Court may appoint a disciplinary committee
  • Court may appoint a committee of 2 judicial officers
  • Mudgal Committee itself may decide on the course of action or punishment

Earlier in the day, the apex court told Srinivasan that immediate action needed to be taken against Gurunath Meiyappan and felt the best way to ensure this would be to keep the BCCI President-in-exile out of it.

The SC further recommended three options to Srinivasan’s counsel to proceed further in the matter.

Option 1: Resume with BCCI elections without Srinivasan and constitute a new BCCI body to decide over the matter.

Option 2: Constitute a body of BCCI governing council members to decide over the matter.

Option 3: `Constitute a committee of former judges that will take decision on the impending BCCI elections as well as other matters.

Srinivasan’s counsel inquired with the SC if any other options other than three suggested by it could be explored, to which the court responded by setting a deadline of IST 2:00 pm for Srinivasan’s legal team to come up with an alternative.

The court got tough on Srinivasan as it asked him whether his 400 crore investment in purchasing IPL team was love for cricket or business?

Supreme Court kept the pressure on N Srinivasan in the IPL spot-fixing and betting case as it objected to him attending Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) meetings despite stepping aside as cricket administrator.

Clearly on the backfoot, Srinivasan admitted to his mistake and told the court that he should not have taken part in the TNCA meetings.

During the December 8 hearing, the bench headed by Justice S Thakur and F M Kalifullah had grilled Srinivasan on conflict of interest and said it was difficult for it to accept that the involvement of his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan – a team official of Chennai Super Kings – in betting during the IPL 2013 did not result in conflict of interest.

“Srinivasan is the vice chairman and managing director of India Cement Limited, an owner of IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings, your son-in-law is a team official and he is involved in betting. It is very difficult to accept the proposition that there is no conflict of interest,” said the

Making distinction between commercial interest and what a professional gets paid for rendering professional services, the court had said: “Those who invest money to earn money and those who give professional advice and get money (for it) are two different things.”

In the previous hearings, the court had questioned the BCCI as to why IPL franchise CSK shouldn’t be disqualified from the IPL and asked them to act immediately on the Justice (Retd) Mukul Mudgal report.

The court also had said that BCCI elections should go ahead, but directed that all board members who are under investigation to keep away. Then, it asked the Indian board if there was any provision in its constitution to debar Srinivasan from contesting the BCCI polls in future.

Spot-fixing and betting scandal in cricket surfaced in 2013 with Delhi Police arresting three Rajasthan Royals players of cash rich IPL – S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan – in a midnight raid in Mumbai. Then, Mumbai police also unearthed betting links after they arrested Srinivasan’s son-in-law Meiyappan and Bollywood actor Vindu Dara Singh.

Last October, the apex court had constituted the Justice Mukul Mudgal committee to investigate the IPL spot-fixing and betting case. The three-member panel led by Justice Mudgal, a retired Punjab and Haryana High Court judge, also includes Additional Solicitor General L Nageswara Rao and senior advocate Nilay Dutta in the committee.

And on February 10 this year, the committee submitted its first report to the court after conducting a four-month long probe. It is learnt that cricketers, board officials, cops, lawyers and even journalists had deposed before the panel and their depositions were recorded during the probe.

In the follow up, the court had asked the committee to continue its investigation of the persons named in the sealed envelope and the committee was also given greater powers to effectively conduct its probe.

Then, the committee submitted its final report to the apex court on November 3, thus allowing the court to proceed with the final phase of hearing.


SC restraint order on BCCI chief Srinivasan to continue

N Srinivasan, though re-elected BCCI president on Sunday, would remain unable to function as the board chief since the Supreme Court on Monday declined to revoke its orders restraining him. The apex court bench headed by Justice AK Patnaik asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India

 (BCCI) to furnish its proposal under which Srinivasan will be allowed to discharge his duties mandated by the BCCI constitution while completely keeping off the probe into allegations against his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan of involvement in spot fixing and betting in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL).

The court said this after the BCCI pleaded that Srinivasan be allowed to discharge certain responsibilities as the board chief.

Senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for Cricket Association of Bihar, said they could respond to the suggestion by the BCCI only after receiving the concrete proposal in writing.

The apex court was hearing a petition filed last week by Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB) secretary Aditya Verma pleading that Srinivasan be barred from contesting the BCCI presidential election. He also wanted the SC to issue an interim ban preventing Srinivasan from being a member of any committee of the Indian cricket board.

The petition was filed on the ground that Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan is being probed for placing bets in the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches.

The apex court allowed Srinivasan to contest the election but said that he cannot discharge his duties.

In the course of the hearing, the court observed that “so many things are coming about IPL and something seems wrong with the apex cricketing body… why it has lost its credibility”, Justice Patnaik asked BCCI counsel CA Sundaram.

(Source: IANS)

Plea seeking injunction against Srinivasan filed

Indian cricket board president Narayanaswamy Srinivasan from attending the board’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Chennai Sep 29.

Verma, in his application, also sought to restrain the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) from inducting Srinivasan in any of its committee as a member or allow him to participate in any of the proceedings in any capacity.

The pressure is mounting on Srinivasan not to seek a third year as BCCI chief in view of his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan being charged by Mumbai police in the Indian Premier League (IPL) betting scandal, but he is adamant on seeking re-election.

Meiyappan, who is the principal of IPL side Chennai Super Kings, which is owned by Srinivasan’s company India Cements, has been named in the 11,500-page chargesheet along with Bollywood actor Vindoo Dara Singh.

Srinivasan has distanced himself from Meiyappan, who was among the 22 people chargesheeted by the investigators.

The chargesheet does not mention any instance of spot-fixing in the IPL matches. All the accused have been charged with cheating, gambling, conspiracy and forgery.

Srinivasan’s name also figures among those chargesheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a corruption case involving YSR Congress party chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, but he was quick to tell IANS that the case has nothing to do with his cricket activities.

In the charge-sheet relating to India Cements, CBI named Srinivasan, its managing director, as accused number three.

“Don’t mix the business chargesheet with my cricket,” was Srinivasan’s terse reply.

(Source: IANS)

Hearing on Meiyappan, Vindoo’s bail pleas 2morrow

A local court today reserved till tomorrow its order on the bail applications filed by CSK team principal Gurunath Meiyappan and actor Vindoo Randhawa arrested in the IPL betting scandal, after they were sent in judicial custody till June 14.

Meiyappan and Vindoo filed bail pleas soon after the metropolitan magistrate remanded them in judicial custody.

Urging the court to grant them bail, the duo’s lawyers argued that their custodial interrogation was not required.

(Source: PTI)


IPL betting: Bookie Paresh Bhatia remanded in PC

Alleged bookie Paresh Bhatia has been arrested by Mumbai police in connection with the Indian Premier League (IPL) betting scandal after being released on bail in Goa, and remanded in police custody till June 6, by a local court.

Mr. Bhatia was arrested on Saturday night by the city police’s crime branch soon after he was released on bail by the Goa police, which had arrested him last week for betting.

N. Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan and actor Vindoo Dara Singh are among those arrested in the betting scandal.

Seeking Mr. Bhatia’s custody, the crime branch said it wants to question him, Mr. Vindoo and Mr. Meiyappan together to ascertain further links.

According to the crime branch, Mr. Bhatia was the link between Mr. Vindoo and arrested bookie Ramesh Vyas. Mr. Bhatia was the one responsible for collecting deposited money from a particular bank account and distributing it among bookies and punters.

In its remand application submitted on Sunday before a metropolitan magistrate, the crime branch said Mr. Bhatia was in constant touch with Mr. Vindoo during the recently held IPL matches.

According to the crime branch, there are telephonic conversations recorded between Mr. Vindoo and Mr. Bhatia exchanging information about players and teams.

Advocate Rajesh Srivastav, appearing for Mr. Bhatia, opposed the remand plea and said the accused was arrested last week by Goa police in a betting case.

“46 mobile phones were recovered by the Goa police. Investigation is already done by them after which Bhatia was granted bail. He (Bhatia) has been falsely implicated in the Mumbai case and has no connection with Vindoo and Meiyappan,” the lawyer said.

The metropolitan magistrate, however, accepted the crime branch plea and remanded Mr. Bhatia in police custody

(Source: PTI)

Police custody of Meiyappan, Vindoo extended till June 3

A Mumbai court on Friday extended the police remand of CSK team owner Gurunath Meiyappan, actor Vindoo Dara Singh and two others arrested in the IPL betting case till June 3 after prosecution sought further custody to unravel their connection with absconding bookies.

Additional Metropolitan Magistrate A. A. Khan granted the Crime Branch’s plea for extending their remand, rejecting the defence counsel’s contention that the offence Mr. Meiyappan and Mr. Singh had been booked for was bailable and that they had already spent “sufficient time” in Mumbai Police’s custody.

In its remand application, the police said Mr. Meiyappan, Mr. Singh, Alpesh Patel, a hawala operator, and Prem Taneja, a conduit for bookies, needed to be interrogated further to know about wanted bookies Sanjay Jaipur, Pawan Jaipur and Jupiter.

A Crime Branch team, it said, has been despatched to Goa to bring Paresh Batia, another bookie, who was in contact with some of the accused in the case.

Mr. Meiyappan, armed with privileged information as CSK’s Team Principal, is alleged to have placed “huge bets” on IPL matches after fixing the game, including those involving the Chennai franchise. He is said to have lost Rs one crore through betting.

Meanwhile, Vikram Agarwal, owner of the Radisson Blu hotel in Chennai — known in betting circles as Victor — appeared before the Crime Branch to record his statement, sources said.

Mr. Agarwal, a friend of Mr. Meiyappan for the last 15 years, allegedly led the IPL betting syndicate in the southern city and was a crucial link between CSK team owner and Mr. Singh. According to Himanshu Roy, Joint Commissioner (crime), Mr. Agarwal is a “key link” between the betting syndicate and Bollywood celebrities.

Ashwin Agarwal alias Tinku Delhi, arrested by the special cell of Delhi Police, has also been brought to the Crime Branch office for recording his statement. His interrogation is likely to shed light on the Pakistani connection to the betting racket, sources said.

According to sources, he is likely to be formally arrested by Mumbai Police in connection with the betting case being probed by it and produced before a court for seeking his remand.


2 bookies held in Mumbai for accepting bets from Pak

With this, 12 persons have been arrested so far by Mumbai police in connection with the betting case being probed by it including Bollywood actor Vindoo Randhawa and CSK owner Gurunath Meiyappan.

In the continuing crackdown on IPL betting syndicates, Mumbai crime branch on Monday arrested two bookies who were allegedly in contact with their counterparts in Pakistan for accepting bets.

With this, 12 persons have been arrested so far by Mumbai police in connection with the betting case being probed by it including Bollywood actor Vindoo Randhawa and CSK owner Gurunath Meiyappan.

Alleged bookies Dinesh Sharma and Kishor Pablani were produced before a metropolitan court which remanded them in police custody till June 1.

According to crime branch, Ramesh Vyas, kingpin of the racket whose arrest on May 14 brought to surface the scandal, had directed calls received from Pakistan on his mobile to Sharma and Pablani. These calls pertained to accepting bets from that country, they said.

Police said absconding accused Jupiter and Vyas were in touch with each other on a particular phone and the instrument has been recovered from Sharma and Pablani.

Police also said Sharma and Pablani needed to be interrogated further to trace another absconding accused Kishore Badlani alias Kishore Pune.

Seeking remand of the duo, the crime branch told the court that fake documents were used by them to procure SIM cards.

In a related development, the court issued production warrant against a suspected bookie Ashwin Agarwal alias Tinku Delhi who has been arrested by the special cell of Delhi police along with cricketer S Sreesanth.

(Source: PTI)

BCCI president promises fair spot fixing probe

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president N. Srinivasan Sunday said an independent commission will be set up to probe Chennai Super Kings chief executive — and his son-in-law — Gurunath Meiyappan’s role in the spot fixing scandal, and asserted that he will not have any role to play in its selection or work.

The BCCI chief also maintained that he won’t quit as he had “done no wrong”.

“I will not shirk from my duty. The BCCI will act without fear or favour. We will investigate. All the reports that there was a revolt in the BCCI… none of that happened. The BCCI is united. It is determined to work and justify people’s faith in the IPL,” said Srinivasan here, hours before the Indian Premier League (IPL) final match at the Eden Gardens between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians.

Commenting on the commission to be set up to probe Meiyappan’s role, Srinivasan said he has distanced himself from the commission.

“With Gurunath Meiyappan, the legal process has already started. He has been banned immediately. The disciplinary procedure will be initiated. A commission, including a member independent of BCCI, will investigate into this. I am not part of this commission. I will not play any role in its appointment or its work,” he said.

 Srinivasan further added that the panel will include one independent member and two out of the following five: BCCI senior vice president Arun Jaitley, BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke, IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla, former India skipper Ravi Shastri and BCCI secretary general Sanjay Jagdale.

“We have appointed a commission. I will not play any role in its appointment or its work. I am not part of that commission. The commission, including a member independent of BCCI, will investigate into this,” Srinivasan said.

On being further questioned about Meiyappan’s role, Srinivasan said the commission will answer the questions.

“He (Gurunath) has been travelling with the team. He is enthusiastic. What his role was… whether he transcended any rule… the commission will find out. The last few days have been difficult for the BCCI and for me as president. Also difficult for me as a father and a father-in-law,” he added.