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IPL 6: Now, India Cements Disowns Meiyappan

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Gurunath Meiyappan has been disowned by India Cements, the owner of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) franchise even as pressure mounted on N Srinivasan for resigning as BCCI president. Assuring full co-operation with BCCI and law enforcement authorities in the ongoing IPL probe, India Cements said on Friday, 24 May 2013 that Gurunath Meiyappan is neither the owner nor CEO of Chennai Super Kings.

Gurunath is only one of the members (honorary) of the management team of CSK.

"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 law enforcement authorities," the compnay said in the statement.

This follows a a buzz that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was reportedly looking into its rulebook to decide whether IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings (CSK) should be terminated if its owner Gurunath Meiyappan gets arrested.

BCCI President and India Cements Vice-chairman N Srinivasan is under preesure in the wake of alleged involvment of his son-in-law and CSK team owner Gurunath Meiyappan in betting on IPL matches even as questions were raised over the future of Chennai franchise.

The 35-year-old Gurunath, who has been summoned by Mumbai Police for questioning after actor Vindoo Dara Singh implicated him in betting, flew to Mumbai from Madurai in a chartered aircraft a little after the 5 pm deadline set by police for questioning.

After consultations at the estate of his father-in-law and BCCI President Srinivasan, Gurunath drove to Madurai and left for Mumbai in a special aircraft accompanied by a noted Chennai lawyer P S Raman.
 
On 23 May, Mumbai Police came to Chennai to summon Gurunath. The developments cames a day after actor Vindoo Dara Singh told his interrogators that he was "frequently in touch" with Meiyappan, which was reported by Media quoting sources in the Police. It was also reported that Singh told Police he was betting on behalf of Meiyappan.

Mumbai Police on 24 May indicated it would not extend the deadline for Chennai Super Kings CEO Gurunath Meiyappan to appear before it for questioning in the IPL betting scandal, saying "he has been asked to present himself by 5 pm on Friday".

"Meiyappan was served summons on Thursday which asked him to present himself before the crime branch here between 10 AM and 5 PM today. So, he has to present himself by 5 PM on Friday," a deputy commissioner rank officer involved in the probe told PTI.

He, however, parried questions about whether Meiyappan, son-in-law of BCCI president and CSK owner N Srinivasan, would be arrested if he fails to make an appearance today.

Meiyappan had on 23 May sought time till 27 May to appear before the Mumbai crime branch, hours after it issued summons to him for personal appearance.

Though the exact contents of the letter faxed to crime branch was not yet known, the CSK honcho wanted to be given time till Monday as he wanted to attend IPL final in Kolkata on Sunday in which his team would clash with winner of Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals in the last play-off on Friday.

Meiyappan is under the crime branch scanner for his proximity to Bollywood actor Vindoo Randhawa who was arrested for his alleged association with bookmakers.

The police are now trying to verify the veracity of Vindoo's claims. "So far, there is no definite evidence of spot-fixing against Meiyappan," Police sources were quoted.

On Wednesday, Meyappan's name was all over the media after sources in the Mumbai police department have said they were probing the connection between the CSK team principal and actor Vindu Dara Singh, who was arrested on Tuesday for his connections with the betting syndicate.

Subrata Roy Demands Srinivasan's Resignation
Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy, whose team Pune Warriors exited the IPL couple of days ago, also demanded Srinivasan's resignation and his replacement by Sharad Pawar.

Questioning Srinivasan's conflict of interest in the game, Roy said Chennai Super Kings' contract should be terminated immediately in the wake of franchise owner Gurunath's name cropping up in the spot-fixing scandal.

"If a franchise is involved in betting their contract should immediately be scrapped. If a owner is involved in betting it's wrong," he said.

Analysts say that if Gurunath is arrested by Mumbai Police and charges are levelled against him, it may threaten CSK's continuance in the hugely popular T20 league.

They cite a rule in the IPL contract for teams which provide for termination if a franchisee, any franchisee group company and/or any owner acts in any way which adversely affects the reputation or standing of the league, the BCCI- IPL or the game of cricket.

Jaitley, Rajiv Shukla Meet Law Minister Kapil Sibal For Anti-fixing Law
Rattled by the scandal, IPL Chairman Rajiv Shukla and BCCI vice-President Arun Jaitley met Law Minister Kapil Sibal, demanding that a strong anti-fixing legislation be "enacted as soon as possible".

"Today Arun Jaitley, who is a BCCI vice-President and the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee and me met Law Minister Mr Kapil Sibal and requested that the strongest possible law should be made to crack down on match-fixing," Shukla said.

"We welcome the initiative. The strongest possible punishment should be given. We want a law to be enacted as quickly as possible because in the absence of a law, these people are taking advantage," he said.

"We will soon meet the Sports Minister (Jitendra Singh) because he also wants a strong law. We will request him that a law should be made," he added.

Asked if Srinivasan should resign owning moral responsibility, Shukla said, "The (BCCI's) Ravi Sawani Committee is already investigating. Let him submit a report.

The Disciplinary Committee will take a final view on it."

"Let the Mumbai Police submit its report on the matter," he added.

(Agencies)