Corruption in IPL May 25, 2013

Who is Gurunath Meiyappan?

ESPNcricinfo's brief profile of the Chennai Super Kings official now in police custody

Until two days ago, the impression Gurunath Meiyappan gave was that of one of the few IPL team owners who behaved normally and in a dignified manner. Now he is not the team owner anymore and, it can be surmised given his current location, lacks some of that dignity. After Mumbai Police sent him summons to appear for interrogation for his alleged involvement in illegal cricket betting, his franchise, Chennai Super Kings, was quick to wash its hands off him; he is no longer the team principal nor does he have to do anything with India Cements, the company that owns Super Kings.

This controversy might have brought Gurunath to the national headlines but in Chennai circles he didn't need any extra push. Even before he married Srinivasan's daughter Rupa about 10 years ago, Gurunath was well known as the son of AVM Balasubramanian and grandson of AV Meiyappan, the founder of AVM Productions, arguably the oldest TV and film production house in south India. In Chennai, where the film industry transcends commercial status, that is among the most powerful calling cards. His marriage to Srinivasan's daughter was the coming together of two of the richest families in Chennai.

Known as "prince Gurunath" in Chennai, he is active on the city's golfing circuit - which is where he met Rupa, who is also an avid golfer (as is his father-in-law). Golf plays a large role in his make-up: he has been reported as saying he learnt about possessing strong values while playing golf. "In a day's golf, you can discover much about a man's character -- how he is as a person, and how he would do business. Everything." He has also been an ardent motor-racing fan.

Gurunath has been the owners' representative in the Super Kings dugout. He is seen taking pictures, sharing the trophy, and some of the players have referred to him as "team principal" and at times "boss". He also lifted the paddle at the IPL auctions and has talked on record in detail about the team and his involvement with it, including the auction strategy.

Gurunath is the son of the flashier of the brothers who were heir to Meiyappan's considerable fortune. He is not known to have played an active role in his family business. His promotion to "team principal", which Super Kings now deny, was initially seen as Srinivasan's move to mask his alleged conflict of interest as BCCI president and part-owner of the company that owns Super Kings. After the arrest, though, that debate no longer exists.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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