Tainted IPL team-owners cleared of wrong-doing

Two-man probe clears Meiyappan, Kundra of corruption in the IPL.

NEW DELHI: Former Chennai Super Kings team owner Gurunath Meiyappan and the Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra have been cleared of allegations of match-fixing and spot-fixing after the end of an investigation by a panel of two judges of the Madras High Court.

The judges, T. Jayaram Chouta and R. Balasubramanian, had handed over their findings to the BCCI after a swift probe that was commissioned by the board in the wake of the spot-fixing scandal that had rocked the Indian Premier League in May.

The judges have decreed that there was no evidence against the team owners of match-fixing and spot-fixing.

“There is no evidence of any wrongdoing found by the judges against Raj Kundra, India Cements and Rajasthan Royals. The report will now be forwarded to the IPL Governing Council which will take a final decision when it meets on August 2 in New Delhi,” BCCI vice-president Niranjan Shah told reporters after a working committee meeting in Kolkata today.

It implies that Meiyappan’s father-in-law, the deposed BCCI president N. Srinivasan, may now reclaim his seat at August 2 meeting. Jagmohan Dalmiya has been the interim president since Srinivasan had "stepped aside" for the duration of the probe.

Asked if Srinivasan will helm the August 2 meeting, Dalmiya said, “Let Mr Srinivasan decide. Let Srinivasan take his decision.”

LACK OF EVIDENCE

Times Nows reported that the judges had been denied access to the findings of Mumbai Police, who had arrested Meiyappan.

According to the news report, the Mumbai Police had circumstantial evidence of Meiyappan's involvement in cricket betting, a charge serious enough to lead to the disbandment of the Chennai Super Kings franchise. But since the evidence wasn't produced before the probe, the only logical conclusion the judges could arrive at was that Meiyappan had done no wrong.

Asked if India Cements, the company that owns the Chennai Super Kings, has been cleared by the probe, Dalmiya said, “The final call will be taken in the IPL governing council (GC) meeting. It will be discussed in the proper forum which is the IPL GC. The GC will examine the report and accordingly will take a decision. The copy of the report will be made public in due course,” he said.

There were also concerns if Meiyappan and Kundra had been questioned at all by the judges.

NO ACTION YET ON DHONI-RHITI CONNECTION

India captain MS Dhoni had been embroiled in a conflict of interest controversy when it was revealed he had a stake in a player management company that manages him, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Pragyan Ojha. Dalmiya had promised there would be a suitable action but hasn't so far said what the action would be.

“I had said nothing will be swept under the carpet, even if it is Dhoni,” Dalmiya said today. “We have changed our mode of working. We don’t believe you have to be after any player or anybody. Therefore, the players will have to declare their interest in sports management companies. We will see how we can help them,” Dalmiya said. (Yahoo! Cricket)

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