The owners of the Chennai Super Kings tried to downplay the role of a prominent cricket official today after he was summoned by police in Mumbai for questioning in an ongoing spot-fixing scandal.
Gurunath Meiyappan, who is the son-in-law of Board of Control for Cricket in India president Narainswamy Srinivasan, is reported to have been in touch with Bollywood actor Vindoo Randhawa. Randhawa is said to be close to bookmakers at the center of an ongoing probe that started with the arrest of test player Shantakumaran Sreesanth and two other cricketers.
Meiyappan had in the past been referred to as the chief executive and was present in players' auctions as well as many post-match awards functions on behalf of the Chennai team, but owners Friday decided to distance themselves from him.
"India Cements clarifies that Mr. Gurunath Meiyappan is neither the owner, nor CEO/Team Principal of Chennai Super Kings," the company said in a statement. "Mr Gurunath is only one of the Members (Honorary) of the Management Team of Chennai Super Kings."
Srinivasan, who is the Managing Director of India Cements, has often been criticized for holding offices which have a conflict of interest since he is both a top board official and runs a company that owns an IPL franchise.
Indian media focused on the issue once again even as Mumbai police were set to question Meiyappan after his arrival in the city late Friday.
"We've affixed one summons on the door of Meiyappa's residence (in Chennai)," Mumbai Joint Commissioner of Police Himanshu Roy said. "A second summons was served at the CSK (Chennai Super Kings) office to a manager who accepted it. Legally the summons has now been served."
Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan were arrested last week for allegedly manipulating certain parts of IPL games for their Rajasthan Royals and receiving money from bookmakers in return.
Sreesanth has denied his involvement in spot-fixing but charges of cheating, criminal conspiracy and criminal breach of trust have been brought against the three for conceding a fixed minimum number of runs per over in exchange for up to 6 million rupees (US$110,000) from bookmakers for every over.
Several bookmakers have been arrested across the country over the past week along with their associates, which include three domestic-level cricketers and Randhawa, who has been shown by television channels as watching an IPL game in the company of the wife of India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The BCCI said today it is eager to see a law to curb spot-fixing.
"The strongest possible law for match-fixing is needed as quickly as possible," IPL Commissioner and BCCI vice president Rajeev Shukla said in New Delhi. "The absence of a proper law is being taken advantage of. We've met the law minister and will also be meeting the sports minister in this regard."
It is not for the first time that spot-fixing has been reported in India.
Last year, little-known allrounder TP Sudhindra was handed a life ban after he was shown in a sting operation by India TV as agreeing to bowl a no-ball at a predetermined time in a local T20 game in the central Indian city of Indore.
Should bouncers be banned from cricket?