The naming of Gurunath Meiyappan, a former senior official of Chennai Super Kings and son-in-law of BCCI president N Srinivasan, in a charge-sheet by the Mumbai police on Saturday for cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy in connection with IPL 6 matches has further threatened the already thinning credibility of the lucrative Twenty20 tournament and those who run it. Here is a look at what the charge-sheet entails and the implications for CSK, Srinivasan and the BCCI.
In a 11,500-page document filed at the Mumbai Quila court, Gurunath has been charged under sections 415, 420 and 417 of the Indian Penal Code, which deal with cheating and fraud, and section 130 of the Bombay Police Act, which concerns cheating at games. According to PTI, Meiyappan was also charged under section 66A of the Information Technology Act and two sections of the Gambling Act. He has not, however, been charged with fixing any match or a spot in a match. The Mumbai Quila court has set November 21 as the next date of hearing.
The charge-sheet in the spot-fixing scandal filed by the Mumbai police on Saturday contained the conversation between Meiyappan and actor Vindoo Dara Singh. The charge-sheet also had details of former international umpire Asad Rauf speaking to Vindoo about betting on one of the IPL 6 matches. The charge-sheet said that Meiyappan used to bet through Vindoo against his own team, and that on May 12 he told Vindoo: "My team is going to make between 130 and 140 runs." CSK lost that match to Rajasthan Royals. One conversation showed Vindoo calling Meiyappan and telling him to go and mix with the team. Also, Rauf's conversation with Vindoo before the IPL 6 match between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals on May 15 showed how Rauf told Vindoo to place bets on that match. Rauf was the umpire in that match which Mumbai won.
The possible repercussions
Not unexpectedly, Srinivasan has chosen to distance himself from Meiyappan, saying if he is actually part of the charge-sheet then he must face the music himself and has nothing to do with cricket. However, if the Mumbai Police says in court that it has gathered additional evidence about Meiyappan's links to bookies and betting while he was CSK Team Principal or even a "cricket enthusiast", as Srinivasan himself termed him a few months ago, that could immediately call for invoking article 11.3c - the very article which the BCCI, its top boss and CSK's owners have been fearing from day one. Article 11.3c is very simple: if any team or team official connected to the franchise brings any disrepute to the game of cricket or to the IPL or the BCCI, then the board can terminate this agreement.
As the clause reads: "the franchisee, any franchisee group company and/ or the owner acts in any way which has a material adverse effect upon the reputation or standing of the league, BCCI- IPL, BCCI, the franchisee, the team or any other team in the league and/ or the game of cricket". This could spell big trouble for CSK and Srinivisan. As of now, one can only wait and watch to see what the court says against Meiyappan.
Some relief for Srinivasan
The fact that his son-in-law has not been charged with fixing is welcome news to Srinivasan, who is seeking re-election as BCCI president at the board's AGM on September 29. Srinivasan had earlier delated his assumption of office as BCCI president pending re-election following criticism by the Mumbai High Court.