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‘The allegations of betting against Gurunath proved’

A file picture of Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and coach Stephen Fleming

New Delhi: The conclusions of the Justice Mukul Mudgal IPL probe committee has been given in two parts. The first one is signed jointly by Justice Mudgal and L. Nageswara Rao. The other one by Nilay Datta. All the three-members have, however, concurred on the findings of guilt relating to betting.

According to panel sources, Datta had given a separate report only with a slight difference on the recommendations for preventing recurrence of such events.

The three-member probe committee had been appointed by the Supreme Court pursuant to an order dated July 30, 2013.

The conclusive part of the panel’s report is produced below in verbatim:

CONCLUSIONS OF THE COMMITTEE

I) The role of Mr Gurunath Meiyappan in Chennai Super Kings as the team official stands proved and the allegations of betting and passing on information against Mr Gurunath Meiyappan stand proved. However the allegations of fixing require further investigation.

The Committee is of the view that the material on record clearly indicates that Mr Gurunath Meiyappan was the face of CSK and the team official of CSK.

After perusing the information provided by the Delhi and Chennai police, FIR and chargesheet filed by Mumbai police, transcripts of telephonic conversations (though the voice samples have not been formally proved by forensic analysis, the committee after hearing the recorded conversation proceeds on the assumption, that the said voice is that of Mr Gurunath Meiyappan), the following conclusions emerge:

(a) That Mr Meiyappan was indulging in betting through Mr Vindoo Dara Singh who was in direct touch with the bookies and punters like Mr Vikram Aggarwal.

(b) Bets were placed by Mr Meiyappan inter alia were not only in favour of CSK but also against it. In betting parlance betting for and against a team is called hedging bets;

(c) Mr Meiyappan also bet in matches of teams other than CSK;

(d) In so far as the role of Mr Gurunath Meiyappan and Mr Vindoo Dara Singh are concerned, our conclusions are based on the testimony of the Police and chargesheets and are not meant in any manner to pronounce on the issue as to whether Mr Gurunath Meiyappan and Vindoo Dara Singh are guilty of the offences charged with, which issue is entirely under the domain of the Criminal Court. We have based our conclusions only on the objective facts gathered during the course of our probe and contents of the charge sheet and other documents produced by the investigating agencies.

(e) On the issue of whether Mr Gurunath Meiyappan was involved in match-fixing and spot-fixing, the issue has not been investigated thoroughly by the ICC-ACSU, BCCI’s ACU or the Crime Branch Criminal Investigation Department of the Chennai police even though some information was available for such an investigation to be conducted.

(f) The Mumbai Police has provided some information on the alleged involvement of Gurunath Meiyappan in match-fixing, however a conclusive inference cannot be drawn from their investigation;

(g) The Committee sought from Ms. K. Bhavaneeswari (SP, Q Branch CID, Mylapore Chennai) the file relating to a fake passport case, which provided the police with further information in relation to match-fixing in IPL 6. However, a copy of the file has not been provided to the Committee even after an assurance that it would be provided.

(h) In particular, there seems to be enough information available on record to indicate that a further investigation is required in respect of the match held at Jaipur, between Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings on the 12.5.2013.

(i) Mr. C.A. Sundaram, Senior Counsel who appeared on behalf of BCCI stated that even if Meiyappan acting on behalf of CSK had resorted to betting it was not within the knowledge of or with the consent of India Cements where Meiyappan did not hold an official position.

(j) However the Committee is of the view that the infraction of the rules prohibiting betting by a team official has clearly occurred and except on the 8th of February 2014, when Senior Counsel adopted a stance that CSK should not be punished for actions of Meiyappan, franchisee owners (Indian Cement) have defended the actions of the franchisee by contending/stating that Mr Gurunath Meiyappan was not related in any way with the franchisee. The stand taken by the franchisee appears to be contradicting the factual position as has already been observed by this committee.

(k) Thus, in conclusion the Committee finds that Mr Meiyappan is in violation of Sections 2.2.1 and 2.14 of the IPL Operational Rules for bringing the game into disrepute, Articles 2.2.1, 2.2.2, and 2.2.3 of the IPL Anti Corruption Code for his acts of betting and Articles 2.4.4 of the IPL Code of Conduct for Players and Team Officials, for bringing disrepute to the game of cricket.

II) Allegations of betting and spot-fixing against Mr Raj Kundra, team owner of Jaipur Cricket Private Limited, need to be further investigated.

a) In so far as the role of Mr Raj Kundra is concerned, the fact that he resorted to betting through Mr Umesh Goenka in the IPL matches is evident from the statement of Mr Umesh Goenka under section 164 CrPC recorded by the Delhi Court (MM, SE Distt, Saket Court, New Delhi);

b) Statement of Delhi police before us that Mr Umesh Goenka had stated that whenever he (Goenka) used to ask Raj Kundra any information relating to a team or a match, Mr. Kundra would tell him to directly contact the players.

c) We are clearly of the view that the statements under S.164 CrPC made by Umesh Goenka clearly required further and serious investigation as Raj Kundra and his wife Shilpa Shetty are part owners of Rajasthan Royals.

d) Allegations of betting by Mr Raj Kundra and Mrs Shilpa Shetty who are part owners of Rajasthan Royals, if found proved would constitute a serious infraction of Sections 2.2.1 and 2.14 of the IPL Operational Rules for bringing the game in disrepute, Articles 2.2.1, 2.2.2 and 2.2.3 of the IPL Anti Corruption Code for acts of betting and Articles 2.4.4 of the IPL Code of Conduct for Players and Team Officials, for bring disrepute to the game of cricket.

e) Mr. Raj Kundra has been suspended by BCCI and still remains suspended pending the report of this Committee as disclosed by BCCI counsel and official on 8.2.2013.

III) Allegations of match-fixing and spot-fixing against the players

a) The Committee is of the view that allegations of spot-fixing and match-fixing against the players Mr. S.Sreesanth, Mr. Ankeet Chavan, Mr. Ajit Chandila, Mr. Amit Singh and Mr. Siddharth Trivedi, on the basis of evidence provided by Delhi Police are facing criminal trial and adequate punishment has been imposed upon them by BCCI;

b) The Committee during its interactions and on review of documents provided to it, has come across many allegations of sporting fraud. However as of now these are mere allegations’, we do not think it proper to cast aspersions on the persons named unless investigations are conducted.

Other Issues

Most of the persons who were not connected with BCCI pointed out the issue of conflict of interest brought about by the ownership of Chennai Super Kings by India Cement, a company whose managing director is Mr N. Srinivasan, the current president of BCCI. It was also pointed out that the conflict of interest was brought about by the amendment to clause 6.2.4 of the BCCI Rules and Regulations by which an office bearer of BCCI is permitted to hold a commercial interest in the IPL and Champions League. The above amendment was the subject matter of a petition in the Hon’ble Supreme Court leading to a split verdict by two Hon’ble Judges, but the issue now stands unresolved due to the withdrawal of the proceedings which led to the above petition in the Hon’ble Supreme Court by Shri A.C. Muthiah, a former president of BCCI.