Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of BCCI President N. Srinivasan and owner of Chennai Super Kings, was arrested on Friday night for his alleged involvement in IPL betting scandal.
His arrest has raised serious doubts about continuance of the franchise in the hugely popular T20 league.
Meiyappan was arrested after nearly two-and-a-half hours of questioning that began at 9.30 pm.
“We have interrogated Gurunath based on the information we have. We found his involvement in the offence related to IPL betting case we have registered. We have placed him under arrest,” Joint Commissioner (crime) Himanshu Roy told reporters.
Roy said Meiyappan will be produced before a metropolitan court on Saturday.
Vindoo's links to bookies
The 35-year-old top honcho of CSK, twice IPL champions, was in the eye of a huge storm after actor and TV reality show winner Vindoo Dara Singh, arrested for his alleged links to bookies, admitted to having placed bets on his behalf.
Vindoo, winner of reality show Bigg Boss season 3 and son of late wrestler-actor Dara Singh, was allegedly in “frequent touch” with Meiyappan during the IPL matches and was claimed to have told Mumbai crime branch that the CSK owner had lost Rs 1 crore through betting.
The crime branch, according to sources, had the call data records of conversations between Vindoo and Meiyappan and they are learnt to have confronted the two with the transcripts.
Roy, during his brief interaction with the media after the arrest, refused to take questions about whether Vindoo and Meiyappan were brought face to face.
Led by Roy, the interrogating team also included Additional Commissioner of Police Niket Kaushik and Deputy Commissioner Satyanarayana Chaudhary.
Vindoo’s custody extended
Vindoo's police remand was extended by a metropolitan court till May 28 following crime branch’s plea so that he could be confronted with Meiyappan.
He was alleged to have placed bets through absconding bookies Jupiter, Pavan Jaipur and Sanjay Jaipur. Vindoo himself also used to accept bets from others and forwarded them to these men.
RR players arrested
According to the crime branch, the actor, who has emerged as a key figure in the betting scandal, had facilitated the escape of Pavan and Sanjay to Dubai.
He did this as the bookies faced the heat following unravelling of the spot-fixing scam by Delhi police with the arrest of three Rajasthan Royals players, including India speedster S. Sreesanth.
He was also alleged to have sent a parcel to controversial Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf on behalf of bookie Pavan, which is yet to be traced by the crime branch.
Spot-fixing of IPL matches
Though Roy did not say during his post-arrest media briefing about whether Meiyappan was also involved in spot-fixing of IPL matches, he had earlier said strong suspicions did exist.
“We suspect Meiyappan gave inside information to arrested actor Vindoo who passed on those to the bookies,” Roy had told reporters ahead of Meiyappan’s questioning.
BCCI chief stepping down?
With Meiyappan’s arrest, the pressure on Srinivasan for his resignation is set to mount further as several of his rivals in the cricket establishment have already started gunning for him.
India Cements, which owns Chennai Super Kings run by Srinivasan, sought to distance itself from Meiyappan, saying that he is neither the owner nor CEO nor the Team Principal of CSK.
NCP headed by Sharad Pawar, a former BCCI chief himself, demanded that the incumbent cricket board chief quit immediately “if he has any sense of morality and public accountability’’.
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.
Scrapping of CSK contract
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 Meiyappan’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.