Volume: 12 Issue: 2
Three ‘team officials’ connected with Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises could be sanctioned for breaches of IPL rules regarding betting and match-fixing on 7 March, when the Indian Supreme Court considers the conclusions of the Justice Mugdal IPL Probe Committee report. The report implicates Chennai Super Kings ‘team official’ Gurunath Meiyappan; and Raj Kundra and his wife – bollywood actress and former Big Brother contestant Shilpa Shetty – part-owners of Rajasthan Royals.
“We need to remember that criminal prosecution proceedings are pending against the players, as well as the named IPL franchise owners/officials for these acts,” said Amrut Joshi, founder of GameChanger Sports Ventures. “The Justice Mugdal Committee report’s mandate was merely to obtain all necessary facts. The reason why it assumes so much significance is that it could present a threat to the existence of two IPL franchises. If the Supreme Court finds that there is enough in the Justice Mugdal report to suggest that both franchise owners were involved in illegal betting and have violated the terms of the franchise agreement, the Supreme Court could direct the BCCI [Board of Control for Cricket in India] to terminate the franchise agreement.”
The 9 February report found that Meiyappan had betted on IPL games in violation of IPL rules, and asks the Supreme Court to consider sanctions. ‘The Committee is not in a position to render any conclusive finding as to whether Mr. Meiyappan was involved in match fixing or spot fixing,’ reads the report, however ‘there is a general perception amongst many persons who deposed before the Committee, that matches involving CSK and other IPL teams were fixed and required through investigation.’ The report said that Meiyappan had declined to appear before the Committee due to him being subject to a criminal trial (C.C.No. 738/PW/2013).
The report also received information from police that Kundra and Shetty had been betting on IPL games. ‘If the allegations of betting and/or spot fixing/match fixing can be proved,’ reads the report, ‘appropriate action should be taken against Mr. Kundra and Ms. Shetty as well as the franchise.’
The report was commissioned in July 2013 after the BCCI charged three players with match-fixing in May 2013 – S. Sreesanth, Ajit Chandilia and Ankeet Chavan along with a former player turned bookie Amit Singh. It found the BCCI’s sanctioning of these players to be ‘adequate and satisfactory.’
However, the report unearthed many other ‘allegations of sporting fraud.’ The names of these people and the allegations against them are being provided to the Supreme Court in a ‘sealed envelope.’ It is reported that these allegations concern six capped Indian national team players.
The report was also considered the role played by the International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit and the BCCI’s Anti-Corruption Unit to be ‘far from satisfactory and ineffective.’ It also criticised recent changes to BCCI rule 6.4.2, which allows BCCI officials to own franchises, as a ‘conflict of interest.’ It also mentioned that investigating agencies had told the Committee that ‘legalizing sports betting would reduce the element of black money and the influence of the underworld besides help them in detection and focusing their investigation.’