New Delhi: After BCCI chief N Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, now Rajasthan Royals owner Raj Kundra has admitted to placing bets of over Rs 1 crore on his team, said the Delhi Police. But Kundra claimed that he hasn't done anything wrong.
The RR owner on Thursday night tweeted, saying he will issue a clarification soon. "Will make formal statement soon rest assured I am not involved in any wrongdoings. Do not misconstrue silence 4 guilt. Truth will prevail," wrote Kundra.
The Delhi Police said that Kundra confessed that he placed bets through friend Umesh Goenka in the last three seasons of the Indian Premiere League. "Kundra used to place bets for the past three years. Kundra placed bets with Goenka. Goenka was a bookie and forwarded bets to others on behalf of Kundra," a senior police official said.
In fact sources say that his wife and co-owner Shilpa Shetty too placed bets on her team but the actress has denied it. Delhi Police Chief Neeraj Kumar said that while no clean chit has been given to Kundra, there isn't enough proof against him yet to make any arrests.
Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar, in an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN on Thursday, affirmed that Kundra had not been given a clean chit. He, however, ruled out his arrest. "We don't have evidence against Raj Kundra, so we can't arrest him," he said. He said that there was no evidence to link Kundra to spot-fixing either.
The police are now trying to track the money trail. The Delhi Police has also confiscated their passports to ensure they don't leave the country while the investigations are on.
When asked whether Kundra would be charged under the Gambling Act, Neeraj Kumar said it was unlikely since the Delhi Police's case pertains to spot-fixing, and not gambling. He also called the Gambling Act "very weak".
Police sources said Kundra was likely to be quizzed again. However, Srivastava said he cannot give a timeline on when Kundra will be called again for questioning. According to sources, Kundra became one of the owners of the team in the third season of IPL. From the next season onwards, Goenka started watching matches along with Kundra, who used to give him match passes.
On the basis of Goenka's statement, he said, they had to call Kundra for questioning. Police sources said Goenka, who was born in Sikkim, was into share and sponge iron business but he suffered losses. As he stayed near the residence of Kundra's mother, he became a family friend and later went to London where he met Kundra after his business collapsed.
Yet undecided on questioning Shilpa Shetty: Delhi Police chief
Kumar also said that the police was yet undecided on whether Shilpa Shetty, Kundra's actress wife and co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals team, will be questioned. Kundra's aide Umesh Goenka, described as a bookie by the police, during questioning had revealed that Shilpa had asked him to place a bet during one IPL match.
Shilpa, however, has denied the charges. In a tweet, she said that her "apparent involvement in betting is complete nonsense", adding that "truth will prevail".
Need stronger laws: Neeraj Kumar
During his interview, Neeraj Kumar also said the need of the hour was a stronger law to curb match and spot-fixing. "If there is a special law for match-fixing or spot-fixing, it would greatly help the police," he said.
Will RR be terminated from IPL?
Sources say the BCCI is likely to examine if Rajasthan Royals violated clause 11.3 (C) of the BCCI-IPL Franchise agreement. Sources say the BCCI members will discuss the termination clause for IPL teams in the Rajasthan Royals issue.
Rule 11.3 in the BCCI-IPL rule book says, "(c) The Franchisee, any Franchisee Group Company and / or any 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."