The IPL crisis has taken a new twist with Mumbai Police summoning a top Chennai Super Kings official, Gurunath Meiyappan, to its Crime Branch for questioning in connection with betting. He is expected to appear between 11 am and 5 pm on Friday after the police rejected his request for an extension until Monday.
The news is embarrassing - and potentially damaging - for the IPL and its parent body the BCCI, given that Meiyappan is the son-in-law of BCCI president N Srinivasan, whose company India Cements owns the Super Kings franchise. Meiyappan's exact designation is unclear at this point but his twitter handle says "team principal" and he has been a regular on the team dugout during matches and at the franchise table during the IPL auctions.
Television visuals on Friday morning showed Meiyappan leaving Srinivasan's house in Kodaikanal, a hill resort town where the BCCI chief has been spending the last few days.
The summons was affixed to the door of Meiyappan's Chennai residence and been served to, and accepted by, a manager at the Super Kings office.
"We need to verify certain issues raised and claims made by Vindoo Dara Singh during his interrogation," the joint commissioner of police Himanshu Roy said. "It may be necessary to confront Meiyappan with Vindoo to verify whether there is any truth in the latter's claims. It is obvious that if Vindoo was merely socialising with him, we would not have summoned Meiyappan."
There was no official statement by the franchise.
However, IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla did speak briefly on the issue. "The Mumbai and Delhi Police are competent authorities and let them finish the investigations before jumping to any conclusions," he said, when asked whether Srinivasan should step down from the post of BCCI president accepting moral responsibility for the crisis. "How can you term anyone guilty before the investigations are completed? Let the police report be submitted and then we will be in a better position to talk further."
The development followed reports circulating in the media since Tuesday on the proximity of Virender "Vindoo" Dara Singh, who was arrested that day in Mumbai for links with bookies, to the Super Kings franchise. Those reports, which included pictures of Vindoo watching IPL matches in the company of Super Kings captain MS Dhoni's wife, were not denied in the 48 hours since.
Later in the evening Ratnakar Shetty, the BCCI's general manager (cricket development), met Mumbai Police's joint commissioner Himanshu Roy. It was learnt that the meeting was primarily to seek Mumbai police's cooperation in the BCCI's internal investigation of the case against suspended cricketers. The Supreme Court had on Tuesday directed the BCCI to complete the internal inquiry within 15 days.
The police crackdown on bookies continued in other parts of the country. In Kolkata, ten people, including one bookie, were arrested for being allegedly involved in cricket betting. "We have arrested 10 people, including a bookie last night. We are investigating thecase. They will be produced before a court today [Friday]," deputy commissioner Santosh Pandey told PTI.
Initial investigations said they had bet on a match between Mumbai Indians and Super Kings.