Mumbai -- Betting is a minor offence in the eyes of the law, falling under the gambling act. It means if Raj Kundra's association is restricted to placing bets, he can get away with a token fine.
However, the repercussions might be grave when it comes to dealing with the Indian cricket board, whose rules are stringent and clear as far as any official indulging in betting and thereby bringing disrepute to the Indian Twenty20 League and the Board is concerned.
Kundra's act has put the very existence of his team, Rajasthan Royals, in danger. In the BCCI-IPL contract, clause 11.3 (c) of the franchise agreement states that a franchise may be terminated with immediate effect if "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."
Kundra has around 11 per cent stake in the franchisee.
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It spells bad news for Chennai Super Kings too. It will increase the pressure on the team as BCCI president N Srinivasan's son-in-law, Gurunath Meiyappan, was also questioned by the Mumbai Police on similar charges.
Gurunath was portrayed by CSK as team principal, but after his betting links surfaced, the parent company, India Cements claimed Gurunath was neither its owner nor CEO/team principal - a move to avoid the team being terminated.
If Royals go, the action on CSK will depend on the scrutiny of their franchisee agreement with the BCCI-IPL.
Ajay Shirke, who resigned as BCCI treasurer last week, said: "Those in the office at BCCI have to take quick action now. I always feared this and now we have opened a can of worms. The Board needs to have a clear line of action. This needs to be consistent for everyone irrespective of his status or designation."
The action will be severe in case the offender is an owner and in the case of Royals it is straight. "I personally know nothing about Rajasthan Royals' controversy, but if whatever the media reports say is true then neither Raj Kundra nor Shilpa Shetty can deny that they are the owners of the franchise," said Shirke, who is the Maharashtra Cricket Association president.
"But in the case of CSK, it has been said that Gurunath Meiyappan was not an owner and was just an enthusiast and everyone in the board has agreed on it."
However, it won't be that easy. If there's action on RR, then why not take action on CSK? That will be the question asked of Srinivasan and the Board.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.