IPL news May 24, 2013

Gurunath Meiyappan arrested in Mumbai

ESPNcricinfo staff

Gurunath Meiyappan, a top official of the Chennai Super Kings franchise and son-in-law of the BCCI president N Srinivasan, has been formally arrested by Mumbai Police on charges of cheating, forgery and fraud. The development, late on Friday night, is the most serious setback to the IPL in its six-year history and has serious implications for the BCCI as well given the names involved.

As of early Saturday morning there was no news of an emergency BCCI meeting but it is expected that events will move fast through the day, to discuss the issue of leadership - though Srinivasan insisted he would not step down - and also Chennai Super Kings' participation in the IPL final on Sunday.

Gurunath had been summoned to Mumbai for questioning over betting and links to bookies and flew in on Friday evening.

"We have interrogated Mr Gurunath after he arrived here at the crime branch headquarters," Himanshu Roy, the joint commissioner of Mumbai Police, said. "We have gone through questioning with him in detail and after due deliberation, we have arrived at the conclusion there is evidence of involvement in offence we are investigating and therefore he has been placed under arrest. He will be produced in court within 24 hours as per law."

Reports suggest Gurunath's interrogation in Mumbai will continue through Friday night, and he will also be confronted with Virender "Vindoo" Dara Singh, the actor arrested earlier this week for alleged contact with bookies. Police investigations suggested that Vindoo and Gurunath were in frequent telephonic contact. Vindoo was also seen in the CSK box at IPL matches.

Gurunath's lawyer PS Raman said: "We are exploring all legal possibilities. We are waiting for the remand report before reading the charges against him."

Srinivasan had not commented in public since the reports first emerged on Wednesday that his son-in-law was linked to the IPL scandal, but after the arrest he maintained he would not resign as BCCI president. "I have done nothing wrong," he told NDTV. "I am not resigning, the board is largely supportive of me."

Gurunath's connection to Super Kings was the subject of dispute through the day. He was the public face of the franchise, his Twitter handle said he was the "team principal", he was seen as Super Kings' representative at auctions and at IPL owners' meetings. Yet on Friday evening India Cements, the owners of the franchise and of which Srinivasan is the managing director, said Gurunath was only an honorary member of the team management.

The implications of Gurunath's arrest involve both Super Kings, who have qualified for the final to be played on May 26, and Srinivasan.

His arrest brings into question Super Kings' participation in the final - under IPL rules, the BCCI-IPL can terminate a franchise agreement "with immediate effect if: c) The Franchise, any Franchise Group Company and/ or any owner acts in any way which has a material adverse effect upon the reputation or standing of the League, BCCI-IPL, BCCI, the Franchise, the team (or any other team in the League) and/ or the game of cricket."

More importantly, and with wider implication, Srinivasan's position within the BCCI is likely to be under serious threat - not only because Meiyappan happens to be his son-in-law but because Srinivasan heads India Cements, who are owners of the Super Kings. The conflict of interest that arises from Srinivasan's dual position as BCCI president and de facto owner of an IPL franchise now has a serious immediate implication: he will, as board president, have to oversee any disciplinary action against either Gurunath or the franchise.

An IPL insider clarified that Meiyappan's change of designation was not likely to have any impact on the action that needs to be taken. "The moment you're a team management member, irrespective of the designation, the Anti-Corruption code applies to you. And nobody can deny the fact that he is a part of the ownership group and team management."

Jayaditya Gupta

Over the past week the image of Indian cricket has taken a fearsome battering. It started with the arrest of three cricketers on allegations of spot-fixing and continued as various bookmakers and bit players who flock to the sport were also arrested and details of their "confessions" were leaked. Through it all N Srinivasan, the BCCI president, maintained that there were a few "rotten eggs" in Indian cricket, and the game was in overall rude health. On Friday night his assertions came crashing down with the arrest of his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, the de facto head of the Chennai Super Kings franchise.

Gurunath's arrest - and it is safe to say the Mumbai Police would not have taken that step, given the implications, without very strong evidence - is a far more serious issue than the arrest of three players. As the "team principal" - the style on his Twitter handle - he sat in on player auctions, attended IPL meetings as his franchise's representative and had free access to the players at most times. He is, without much doubt, the team's most important person - his players referred to him as "boss". Under the IPL's rules, therefore, his arrest leaves Super Kings' franchise agreement liable to be terminated with immediate effect. Where that leaves the team, which has qualified for Sunday's IPL final, is still anyone's guess.

Any decision on Gurunath will have to be taken by the IPL and the BCCI, which begs this question: how can Srinivasan, father-in-law of the man arrested and managing director of the company that owns the franchise, also be at the head of the organisation that will decide on the punishment? Srinivasan has so long played the conflict-of-interest game to his advantage, watching his Super Kings team become the most successful IPL franchise. The time has now come for him to step down, if only to enable a free and fair inquiry and to allow Indian cricket and its governing body the opportunity to retrieve some of the ground it has lost. Srinivasan has long called himself a cricket fan. To use a cricketing analogy, he needs to walk before he is given out.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Keith on May 27, 2013, 4:14 GMT

    Let us keep the waters clear in this commentary. The time is over for defending or making excuse for people who represent themselves and are credentialed as team principals. No longer should money and ego deter the truth from emerging. Conflict of interest in the case of CSK is glaring and undeniable. No amount of ego or bluster will change that. Players and supporters should not be punished when not directly involved and not withholding information and evidence of potential wrongdoing.

    The real way forward: call a Cricket Constitutional Convention, redesign global cricketing governance, and deal not only with ethics and corruption, but the structure of the sport (e.g. Test Championship, revenue sharing) going forward into a brighter, better future where we can all be proud of the Great Game.

  • vas on May 26, 2013, 11:40 GMT

    Cricket community is a cross section of the society. Few individuals will fall on the wrong side.If you are a cricket fan just enjoy the cricket. Leave the rest to other authorities. Two best teams are in the finals. Hope it's a thriller and CSK lift the trophy. All the best to both teams.

  • Dummy4 on May 25, 2013, 14:30 GMT

    What exactly is the crime committed here? Does it anyway relates to players performance?

  • V on May 25, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    1-General perspective: The owner has been betting on the teams, nor fixing or spot fixing. Why should this affect CSK. If CSK needs to be scrapped because of this, then Rajastan Royals should not have been allowed to play - serious crime that affected the match result 2-Considering, betting is illegal in India and CSK member had broken the law: If a team has to be disbanded because one of its member has performed an act outside then consider; a. South Africa: Cronje; b. India : Md. Azaruddin; c. Pakistan. The point is the team and fans should not be punished because of acts of individuals, doesn't make sense. If still people want to scrap CSK, that is based on personal opinions and not logical thinking. 3. If the IPL rules clearly says that teams needs to be scrapped, Fine, CSK needs to be scrapped. So does RR. Again, team and fans should not be punished because of individuals Outrage for CSK or RR the team, to be scrapped is a bit biased and should be an outrage on offenders

  • Dummy4 on May 25, 2013, 11:42 GMT

    Let's be objective here. How do you compromise or influence a team to WIN THE PRELIMS and BE IN THE FINAL?? It just does not make sense.

  • venkat on May 25, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    IPL has been a great tournament for young cricketers from India and the rest of the cricketing world. Up and coming players like Samson, Faulkner, Jason Holder, Karan Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Chris Morris, etc. are benefiting enormously from the exposure to the outstanding talent, match pressure, and the coaching resources around them. Plus they are all making a healthy living while doing something they love and they are good at. Even experienced players like Ishant Sharma and Bhuvi are benefitting from having players and coaches like Steyn and Alan Donald around them. It makes for compelling cricket. Why would anyone even consider scrapping the IPL because of a handful of bad apples. Clean it up and make it better.

  • Dummy4 on May 25, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    Muck in IPL, 3 players arrested, son-in-law of a team owner arrested, an actor arrested...well, going by the Mumbai police statements, if they say Vindoo was betting on behalf of Meiyappan and there are also other Bollywood celebrities involved, why havent they been arrested? what Vindoo only confessed about Meiyappan ? does he have amnesia in forgetting others involved ?...it seems that the Mumbai police drive is not against betting as a whole in IPL or Indian Cricket but sheepishly targetting towards some hand picked individuals only. Meanwhile safeguarding other 'important' personalities involved. Politically motivated by some sections to score brownie points. And most importantly if Vindoo was in constant touch with bookies and other personalities over phone, why didnt the police intercept these calls and trace them ? Fill the blanks yourself.

  • karthy on May 25, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    Actually kashi it will do no good to Indian cricket :)

  • Aditya on May 25, 2013, 8:32 GMT

    Better after this year.... Let there be a new owner for a Chennai Team.... Just as was the case with Hyderabad....

  • RAJARAMAN on May 25, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    CSK as a team has lost its credibility ... We pity the players or rather the honest ones ... we never know ... CSK will cease to exist from next season ... I don't think any honest player will agree for retention even if CSK clings to IPL ... that makes MSD very valuable for other teams next year ... hopefully a new franchise also emerges from Chennai after CSK's exit ...

  • No featured comments at the moment.