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Gurunath Meiyappan, a top official of the Chennai Super Kings franchise and the son-in-law of BCCI president N Srinivasan, has landed in Mumbai in response to a summons by the Mumbai Police. Police officials said the summons was needed for questioning in connection with betting.
Meiyappan's status in the Super Kings franchise has become the subject of some debate. He was known so far - among senior officials in other franchises and the public at large - as the team principal and referred to as "team owner" in articles on the franchise website, but on Friday evening India Cements, the company that owns the Super Kings, issued a statement to the contrary.
"India Cements clarifies that Mr. Gurunath Meiyappan is neither the Owner, nor CEO /Team Principal of Chennai Super Kings," an Indian Cements release said. "Mr. Gurunath is only one of the Members (Honorary) of the Management Team of Chennai Super Kings.
"India Cements follows zero tolerance policy and if anyone is proved guilty, strict action will be taken immediately. India Cements assures full co-operation with BCCI and the Law Enforcement authorities."
Meiyappan, however, was a frequent presence in the Super Kings dug-out and was also at the franchise's table at IPL auctions. During the auctions it was Meiyappan who used to raise the paddle in order to place a bid, a privilege only allowed to the owners of the franchises, according to the auction rules. The bio on his verified Twitter account read 'Team Principal Chennai Super Kings' till it was changed, half an hour after the India Cements press release, to remove the CSK reference.
It is reliably learnt that Meiyappan had a gold accreditation card for the IPL, reserved for team owners. He also represented the franchise at team owners' meetings organised by the IPL and was said to be the point of contact for other franchises for any discussions over player trades and similar issues from the start of the IPL.
The police issued summons to Meiyappan on Friday to "verify certain issues raised and claims made by" Virender "Vindoo" Dara Singh, who was arrested on Tuesday in Mumbai for links with bookies.
There were reports circulating in the media since Tuesday on the proximity of Vindoo 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, have not been denied since.