Meiyappan arrested, CSK face termination

[ROUND-UP] The CSK team owner was taken into custody after interrogation.

Gurunath Meiyappan representing CSK at the 2012 IPL players' auction.

Gurunath Meiyappan arrested

In a sensational development late on Friday night, the Mumbai police arrested Chennai Super Kings' team owner Gurunath Meiyappan in connection with the IPL spot-fixing case.

Meiyappan, the BCCI president N. Srinivasan's son-in-law, was arrested after his links to bookies were proven following an extensive grilling by cops at the Crime Branch.

Meiyappan was reportedly in constant touch with Vindoo Dara Singh. The development leaves Srinivasan's position as BCCI chief in great jeopardy and he is likely to step down on Saturday.

Srinivasan, however, maintained a stubborn stance and and is reported to have shown no intention of resigning from his multiple post in cricket administration. 

"We have questioned him (Meiyappan) in detail and after due deliberation we have come to the conclusion that there is evidence of his involvement in the offence that we are investigating; therefore he has been placed under arrest and will be produced before the court within 24 hours, as per the law," said the Crime Branch's Himanshu Roy late on Friday night.

Another point of concern is if Chennai Super Kings are still eligible to compete in the IPL final on Sunday. Mumbai Indians' became the second team to enter the final following their win over Rajasthan Royals on Friday night, but with all the muck finally hitting the fan, a straight-forward end to this season's cash-rich circus appears unlikely.

According to the IPL code of conduct clause 12.3, an IPL franchise faces immediate termination from the tournament if "c) The Franchise, any Franchise 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 Franchise, the team (or any other team in the League) and/ or the game of cricket."

Bollywood spot-boy arrested

A spot-boy in Bollywood movies was on Friday arrested from Hyderabad for the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing scandal, Delhi Police sources said. Mohammad Ahya alias Yusuf, 45, was arrested at the Hyderabad airport while trying to flee to Dubai, the sources said. "One of the arrested bookies, Chandresh Patel, revealed Ahya's name. We will be bringing him to Delhi," a Delhi Police official said. This takes the number of arrests in the IPL spot-fixing case to 19. More

Meiyappan changes Twitter bio
Gurunath Meiyappan- Before and After on twitter

Gurunath Meiyappan's verified Twitter profile was subjected to some rapid editing on Friday. The profile originally stated Meiyappan as 'Team Principal Chennai Super Kings' followed by his other business associations. At about 5.15 p.m., Meiyappan's CSK connections were deleted from his biodata on the micro-blogging site. This was around the time that he was reportedly on his way to Mumbai from Madurai for questioning by the police in connection with the snowballing IPL spot-fixing scam. [Evidence that Meiyappan is the Chennai team owner]

Pawar wants Srinivasan out

First it was Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar who said that “if there is even an iota of honesty in Srinivasan, he should quit at BCCI president”. The NCP demanded Srinivasan’s immediate resignation from the BCCI.

If owner involved in betting, team must be scrapped: Subrata Roy

Later, speaking to Times Now channel, Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy said that if “the owner is involved in betting, then his/her IPL team should be scrapped.”

Roy also said that so long as N Srinivasan remains the BCCI chief, the Sahara Group will not sponsor Team India.

He demanded the termination of Srinivasan's contract with BCCI. Roy’s Sahara Group had pulled out its team Pune Warriors India from IPL after BCCI decided to encash its bank guarantee following a financial dispute between the sports body and Sahara.

"We had no choice but to quit IPL. The BCCI chief did not even bother to reply to our letter. His behaviour was arrogant and a person like Srinivasan does not deserve to run BCCI," said Roy.

Vindoo’s custody extended


Meanwhile, Vindoo Dara Singh's custody has been extended till May 28. He will now remain in police custody till May 28.

A Delhi court also sent five spot-fixing scam accused, including two former cricketers, to judicial custody till June 4. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Lokesh Kumar Sharma sent to judicial custody three bookies - Kiran Dole, Sunil Bhatia and Ramakant Aggarwal - and two players - Manish Guddewar, a former Ranji player of Vidarbha, and Amit Kumar Singh, a former IPL player associated with the Rajasthan Royals franchise.

Chennai Super Kings disown Meiyappan

CSK Press Statement: India Cements clarifies that Mr. Gurunath Meiyappan is neither the Owner, nor CEO / Team Principal of Chennai Super Kings.  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 to fly to Mumbai

After the Mumbai Police indicated earlier in the day that they will not entertain Chennai Super Kings team principal and co-owner Gurunath Meiyappan's request for extension of Friday's 5pm deadline to appear for questioning, he will leave in a private flight from Madurai at 5pm and will reach Mumbai at 7 30pm, CNN-IBN reported. BCCI President N. Srinivasan, meanwhile, will step down only if his son-in-law Gurunath is arrested by the Mumbai Police for his alleged role in betting, the channel quoted sources as saying.

The development has come on a day when arrested actor Vindoo Dara Singh said some Chennai's players were in touch with him.

CNN-IBN said that Gurunath, who reportedly started placing bets on IPL matches in 2011, consulted his lawyers and has decided to appear for questioning by the Mumbai Police. The news channel added if in the course of questioning Gurunath, it appears that there is some truth in Vindoo Dara Singh's claims, and the police manage to establish complicity, they may place the Chennai team principal under arrest.

Mumbai Police had on Thursday ordered Gurunath to get in touch with them by Friday evening, but he contacted the Mumbai Police via fax late yesterday evening asking for time while assuring he will make himself present before the crime branch on Monday after the final of IPL-6.

In one of the most explosive revelations yet, Hindustan Times reported that three Chennai players, one of them quite senior, were in touch with Vindoo Dara Singh during the ongoing IPL season, the actor, arrested in connection with the spot-fixing probe, has told investigators. "Yes, he has dropped some names, we are verifying the authenticity of his claims," said the joint commissioner of police (crime), Himanshu Roy.

According to CNN-IBN, actor Vindoo Dara Singh's interrogation has revealed that Gurunath started with bets of Rs 10 lakh that went upto Rs 1 crore per match.

Gurunath is also said to have placed bets on some games, including three Chennai matches in the ongoing Indian Premier League season.

Vindoo Dara Singh is being taken to the Mumbai Police office as his custody ends on Friday and CNN-IBN's sources say the police will seek an extension of his custody.




WILL SRINIVASAN QUIT?

BCCI President N Srinivasan will step down only if his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan is arrested by the Mumbai Police for his alleged role in betting, CNN-IBN quoted sources as saying on Friday.

Earlier in the day, sources close to Srinivasan told NDTV that the BCCI president would not quit over Gurunath's alleged role in betting. They said the BCCI chief will wait for the on-going probe's results before contemplating any further move. He is, for now, headed to Kolkata to attend the remaining IPL games.

Srinivasan has denied having any knowledge of his son-in-law's alleged betting activities.




MEASURES AGAINST FIXING

The government has brainstormed on the new anti-fixing law and some strict measures seem to be in the pipeline. Sources told CNN-IBN that fixing will be made non-bailable and will invite a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh.

The new law is likely to be modelled on the lines of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), under which the burden of proof rests with the accused. The law will also have some elements of the Money Laundering Act provisions, under which, anyone found guilty can be given rigorous punishment from three to seven years.

VINDOO'S CRICKETING CONNECTIONS [
Link]

A Times of India report says Vindoo Dara Singh has told Mumbai police that he knew several players but was close to Virat Kohli, Harbhajan Singh, and Manpreet Gony.

Police said they are yet to come across anything that links the three players to Vindoo's betting racket.

Vindoo also revealed the names of Bollywood celebrities who bet on IPL matches. He acted as a middleman, placing bets on their behalf with bookies.

PEPSI MULLS PULLOUT [
Link]

Cola major PepsiCo had won the IPL title sponsorship rights for an eye-popping Rs. 396 crore for five years starting 2013, nearly double of what previous rights holder DLF had paid in 2008.

The deal, which many experts had then dubbed as over-valued, comes bundled with a force majeure clause that allows termination of contract because of unanticipated circumstances.

PepsiCo didn't confirm or deny if it was considering invoking the clause to look at a possible exit from its title sponsorship, given the turn of events that has sullied the tournament's reputation.




LARGER BOLLYWOOD TRAIL [
Link]

A clearer picture of the Bollywood-bookie nexus seems to have emerged with actor Vindoo Dara Singh's disclosure before the Mumbai police, and the names of a few bigwigs in the industry have cropped up during investigations, whom the police reportedly plan to summon in the next few days.

Vindoo allegedly told the Mumbai police crime branch, investigating the T20 betting scandal, that at least five famous Bollywood personalities, including an actor, a former actor and a producer, regularly placed bets with him on T20 league matches over the years.

'LAW NEEDED TO STOP FIXING'

BCCI Disciplinary Committee chief Arun Jaitley met IPL chief Rajeev Shukla on Friday over the IPL spot-fixing scandal. Shukla said he and Jaitley met Law Minister Kapil Sibal and asked him to bring a strong law to stop spot-fixing at the earliest.

SRINIVASAN'S SON REVEALS GURUNATH'S BOOKIE LINKS
[Link]

The 44-year-old Ashwin Srinivasan, son of BCCI president N Srinivasan, told DNA that Gurunath Meiyappan (his brother-in-law) "had several connections with known bookies from Chennai and Dubai and was regularly in touch with them even before the IPL started", adding,  “What began as a relatively smaller side-business became a full-fledged one over the years.”

The MBA in finance from Cornell University is equally forthcoming about his father’s “questionable” decision to invest in a small aircraft, which needed refuelling, when he could own one. “On all his trips, to and from anywhere abroad, isn’t it strange that the mighty N Srinivasan has to waste four hours in Dubai every time while his aircraft refuels? And mind you, the fuel halt will not be at Kuwait, Sharjah or anywhere else,” the son of BCCI’s most powerful man disclosed.

BOOKIES ARRESTED IN TAMIL NADU

Tamil Nadu Police have arrested two more cricket bookies, taking the total number held so far to nine, police said on Friday.

The Crime Branch identified the two as Uttam C. Jain alias Kitty and Jasraj Jain alias Raja. They were arrested on Thursday.

According to police, with the arrest of Uttam Jain, the investigation shall pursue new leads to get to know the modus operandi of betting in the game, the extent of money involved in betting, main gamblers and punters, and how the money was received, distributed and invested.

ANOTHER BOOKIE ARRESTED [Link]

An alleged cricket bookie was nabbed from the international airport in Hyderabad by a Delhi Police team in the early hours on Friday. "One person identified as Yahya Mohammad has been picked up from the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in connection with the cricket betting racket by the Delhi Police team in the wee hours," a senior police official told CNN-IBN.

IPL VIEWERSHIP DROPS 14% [Link]

While viewers are still watching the matches in stadia, there is a sharp 14 per cent drop in the television ratings (TVR) in the evening matches before and after the spot fixing scam broke, a Business Standard report said.

TAM viewership data for the week ended May 18 (sourced from SET Max) showed the average TVR of the four evening matches played before May 16 (when the first arrests were made), was 3.65 in the all-India market. The average for the three games played in the evening after the news of spot fixing had dropped to 3.13.

Similarly, the Hindi-speaking markets (HSM) also saw a 14 per cent drop in the average ratings, from a 3.72 TVR to 3.2 TVR.




'NO FOREIGN PLAYER INVOLVED'

The Delhi Police has made it clear that no foreign player is involved in the Indian Premier League spot-fixing scandal. "No foreign player's name has come up in our investigation," Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar told CNN-IBN.

He said 12 bookies and three players - S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan - have been arrested so far in the case. 

IS UMPIRE RAUF IN THE MIX?

Elite panel umpire Asad Rauf was withdrawn from next month's Champions Trophy on Thursday following media reports he was under investigation by Mumbai Police.

"In the wake of reports that the Mumbai Police are conducting an investigation into Asad Rauf's activities, we feel that it is in Asad's best interests as well as those of the sport and the event itself, that he is withdrawn from participating in the ICC Champions Trophy," ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said in a statement.

STARTLING REVEALATION [Link]

Times of India reports that Vindoo Dara Singh, arrested on Wednesday for his alleged involvement in the IPL fixing scandal, has told the crime branch of the Mumbai police that an IPL team boss, who's been in the news lately, lost a 'khoka' (Rs 1 crore) in bets placed through him on IPL games this season. The veracity of Vindu's claim is yet to be established.

If this is indeed a fact, the team boss cannot claim that his connections with Vindoo are purely friendly and have nothing to do with betting or fixing.

A court on Friday granted police the custody of Bollywood actor Vindu Dara Singh Randhawa and two others, allegedly involved in the IPL spot-fixing scam, till May 28. Vindu, along with hawala operator Alpesh Taneja and a bookie, Prem Taneja, were arrested by Mumbai police last Tuesday.

ENOUGH EVIDENCE AGAINST SREESANTH: DELHI POLICE

The Delhi Police on Friday told NDTV that more players are involved in the spot-fixing scandal that has rocked the sixth edition of the IPL. Speaking to NDTV, SN Srivastava, Special Commissioner, Special Cell, Delhi Police, said that the on-field performance of the arrested players is direct evidence of their involvement in spot-fixing.

He also added there is enough evidence against Rajasthan Royals player S Sreesanth, who was arrested last Thursday along with two of his team-mates, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila.




MODELS PROBED FOR VINDOO-GURUNATH LINKS [Link]

Hindustan Times
reports that two Lokhandwala-based models who have appeared in small roles in Bollywood films are being questioned by the police for allegedly acting as conduits between Mumbai-based actor Vindoo Dara Singh and Gurunath Meiyappan, co-owner of the Chennai Super Kings franchise. The crime branch of Mumbai police claimed to have found call records that indicate the two models had spoken and exchanged messages with Vindoo and Gurunath in the past.

Police sources, however, said nothing in connection with betting or spot fixing has emerged from the models’ conduct so far.

DELHI POLICE vs MUMBAI POLICE [Link]

Delhi Police on Thursday contacted their counterparts in Mumbai seeking details about the articles seized from the hotel where tainted cricketer S. Sreesanth stayed, said a police official.

The official said they have asked Mumbai police's Crime Branch to provide them details about the CCTV footage of the hotel where Sreesanth stayed, which was different from where the rest of his Rajasthan Royals teammates were staying.

LALIT MODI SLAMS BCCI TOP BRASS [Link]

In an interview to Times of India, former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi said: "The problem is BCCI has become too strong for the good of the game. They seem to be adopting bully-boy tactics at every turn and they certainly seem to think they're indestructible at the moment. The pressure is mounting but no one wants to make a concerted effort to challenge them. Having said that, the mismanagement is there for all to see and the pendulum might swing."

BCCI DECISION EVOKES MIXED RESPONSE [Link]

It took the current spot-fixing crisis for the BCCI to first acknowledge the existence of player agents and then decide to regulate them. A Cricinfo report said the decision has evoked a mixed response from player agents - none of whom, in fact, like to be referred to as an "agent".

Latika Khaneja and Lokesh Sharma, who were two of the most prominent figures in the industry 10 years ago, are not overjoyed by the BCCI's decision.

Newer agents have, however, welcomed the decision.

COMPLETE COVERAGE

Bollywood spot-boy arrested for spot-fixing

Asad Rauf in trouble 

The lowdown on Gurunath Meiyappan


Vindoo spills the beans on Bollywood

Sreesanth's betting company and CSK-Vindoo link

Cops to grill Sreesanth for five more days

Cash, laptop recovered from Sreesanth's room

Sreesanth and Chavan admit to wrongdoing

Delhi police nails Sreesanth, Chandila, Chavan

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