Top Indian cricketers MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina are under the scanner for alleged spot-fixing after some classified parts of investigation into the star-studded Indian Premier League (IPL) corruption scam were leaked to a section of the Indian media on Tuesday.
The English-language weekly magazine, India Today, published an article with excerpts from the investigation report submitted before the Indian Supreme Court on Monday by a three-member inquiry committee, headed by former Punjab and Haryana Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal.
It states that investigating officer G Sampath Kumar had come across bookies while probing the scam and that the report submitted to Justice Mudgal named top cricketers Dhoni and Raina. The report also says that that former BCCI president IS Bindra had also stated that he knew two former reputed Indian players who were allegedly involved in match fixing.
The committee, which was constituted by India’s top court to probe the scandal that surfaced last year, found that Gurunath Meiyappan, the son-in-law of new ICC boss N Srinivasan, was involved in betting during IPL matches. Srinivasan is the chairman of the company that owns Chennai Super Kings which Dhoni is a part of.
The Mudgal committee report mentions six Indian players who have been accused of collaborating with bookies but does not name them, saying at this stage that the allegations are only allegations but investigations should be conducted.
“In connection with match-fixing, Kitty said that Vikram Agarwal and wife Vandana Agarwal and Gurunath Meiyappan and his wife Rupa are very good friends. Through Meiyappan, all Chennai Super Kings players are familiar with Vikram Agarwal, especially MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina. Vikram Agarwal and Meiyappan used to organise dinner parties for select guests and the team…,” reads the report.
The report observes that it is far too easy to get access to players during the IPL which leads to them being lured into joining the illegal betting syndicate. It also suggests attachment of security and anti-corruption officers with all IPL teams constantly — but not in a way which affects players ‘morales’.
It also says that there should be ‘strict control of telephonic access; only cellular telephones issued to players by the BCCI should be allowed and details of calls made and received should be available so as to allow monitoring by the BCCI’. It also has a section which talks about disclosure by players.
The Mudgal committee report says representatives of India Cements, who appeared before the Committee, contended that Meiyappan had no share holding in India Cements and hence cannot be considered as an owner of CSK. Further, Dhoni, Srinivasan and officials of India Cements took the stand that Meiyappan had nothing to do with the cricketing affairs of CSK and was a mere cricket enthusiast supporting CSK.
However, the Mudgal committee says that Meiyappan would be with the team (CSK) during the practice sessions; would be present during team meetings, at the auction table, in the owners dug out; participated in the IPL owners meet, travelled with the team, participated in the IPL owners workshop representing himself to be the owner of CSK and held out to the world at large as the team principal/team owner of CSK.
The committee also found that Meiyappan was in regular touch with bookies and punters. “There are several calls between Meiyappan and Vindoo Dara Singh, who was a punter himself and Singh was in very close proximity with several other bookies, as is evident from the telephonic transcripts produced by the Mumbai Police” the report says, while recommending a full probe of both CSK and Rajasthan Royals, headed by Indian businessman with British citizenship, Raj Kundra.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2014.