Gurunath named in betting chargesheet
Gurunath Meiyappan, a former senior official of Chennai Super Kings and son-in-law of BCCI president N Srinivasan, has been charged by Mumbai police with cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy - including passing on information that compromised the team - in connection with IPL 2013. The chargesheet, filed on Saturday, also called Asad Rauf a "wanted accused", after the Pakistani umpire had left India during the IPL even as Mumbai Police wanted to question him in person.
The Mumbai Quila court, where the 11,500-page chargesheet was filed, set November 21 as the next date of hearing.
Gurunath was charged under sections 415, 420 and 417 of the Indian Penal Code, which deal with cheating and fraud, and section 130 of Bombay Police Act, which concerns cheating at games. PTI reported that he had also been charged under section 66A of the Information Technology Act and two sections of the Gambling Act. However, he was not charged with fixing - as was deemed possible in the days following his arrest.
That would have come as a relief to Srinivasan, who is seeking re-election as BCCI president at the board's AGM on September 29. He had already faced censure from the Mumbai High Court for the manner in which the BCCI set up the committee to investigate the charges against Gurunath and others, and consequently delayed his assumption of office as BCCI president pending re-election.
Speaking shortly before the chargesheet was filed, Srinivasan sought to distance himself from Meiyappan and said the charges against his son-in-law were not going to affect his bid. "This is a matter for Mr Gurunath Meiyappan to deal with. If he is chargesheeted, the law will take it own course. He has been suspended [by the BCCI] so he has got nothing to do with the game. It is up to him to defend his position, it has got nothing to do with me. I will chair the meeting as President and in spite of what you [the media] feel, I may get elected."
In the chargesheet, the Mumbai Police said: "Investigators have evidence to prove that Mr Meiyappan has passed on crucial information that compromises the team strategy, information about team composition, information about injury updates, information about who is going to bat where."
It said Gurunath had given the information to Vindoo Dara Singh, another person who had been arrested on similar charges and was also named in the chargesheet, who in turn had conveyed the information to bookies Pawan Jaipur, Sanjay Jaipur and Jupiter, who allegedly placed bets.
On May 23 the Mumbai police had summoned Gurunath for questioning in connection to allegations of betting and links with bookies. The next day Gurunath was arrested in Mumbai on charges of cheating, forgery and fraud.
Following his arrest, the Chennai franchise tried to distance itself from Gurunath, who was often seen as the face of the team. He was also suspended by the BCCI "from any involvement in the sport of cricket and in particular from any involvement with the Chennai Super Kings team" pending further investigations. Gurunath was granted bail by a Mumbai court on June 4, after spending more than a week in police custody.
The betting scandal and its subsequent arrests came in the wake of the dramatic arrests by Delhi Police of three Rajasthan Royals cricketers - Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan - along with several bookies on charges of spot-fixing in IPL 2013. The three cricketers were arrested, questioned and then named in the chargesheet filed by Delhi police, after which Sreesanth and Chavan were banned for life by the BCCI.