Players told me bookies were personal guests: Raj Kundra


New Delhi, June 6 -- The Delhi Police questioned Rajasthan Royals co-owner and actor Shilpa Shetty's husband, Raj Kundra, on Wednesday as part of their spot fixing investigations.

Kundra, who holds only 11.7 percent stake in the Indian Twenty20 league's Jaipur franchise but he and his wife are seen as the face of the team. He reportedly attended all but one Royals game.

He was called in a day after tough MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act) provisions were invoked by the police against the accused in the case, including cricketers S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan.

The excuse

Kundra was asked why, despite being an owner, he did not stop players from taking shady characters into their hotel rooms. The businessman told the police that former India pacer, Sreesanth, and his two team mates - all three now suspended by Royals - used to take bookies to their hotel rooms claiming they were 'personal guests'.

Delhi Police question Royals co-owner Raj Kundra

Police officials said they questioned Kundra, a British national, for about 12 hours to clarify certain issues. They asked him about his businesses as well as illegal betting and whether he was aware of his players' involvement in spot fixing. He is required to report again on Thursday.

"We summoned Kundra over phone and he joined the investigation at 10am. He is an important person as we have arrested three players of his team and another one (pacer Sidharth Trivedi) is a key witness in our case," said a senior special cell official, requesting anonymity.

Biz deals questioned

"It was his responsibility to ensure that the guidelines of the anti-corruption unit of the Board for Control of Cricket in India were implemented. How the bookies had free access to the team hotels is the main question we asked him," the official added.

The Delhi police also questioned Kundra's business deals. He has business interests in places like Dubai, Ukraine and Botswana.

"We wanted to understand the ownership pattern of the team. There are four owners. If required other owners will also be called for questioning."

Kundra is said to have told the police that Suresh Chellaram, a close relative of the former T20 league chief, Lalit Modi, owned 43 per cent; Manoj Badale held 34 per cent and Rupert Murdoch's son also held a stake.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.

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