IPL betting trails lead to CSK and RR

Saturday 18th July 2015 08:08 EDT

Ghosts of 2013 IPL betting and spot fixing haunt Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals as a Supreme Court panel led by Justice R M Lodha suspended both the franchises for two years, on charges of corruption. The result? Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, stand-in-skipper for Zimbabwe tour Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandra Ashwin, all find themselves without IPL contracts.

Also biting the bullet are the two teams' co-owners, Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra, who have been suspended for life. Son-in-law of then BCCI president N Srinivasan and team principal of the Chennai Super Kings is no longer eligible to participate in any cricketing activity. The panel said Meiyappan had flouted basic rules of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Rajasthan Royals co-founder Raj Kundra, who is married to Bollywood superstar Shilpa Shetty, was found of bringing disrepute to the game, to the BCCI and to the IPL and declared ineligible from participating in cricket for 5 years and is now suspended for life from being involved with the BCCI in any form of the game.

Players from the two suspended teams are eligible to play for any other team, which means that the league will have to call for a fresh auction before the 2016 season gets under way. The BCCI now has the option to invite bids for two new franchises or go ahead with a six-team league, something that will rob the tournament of the competitiveness it prides itself so much on.

India Cements Ltd., owners and promoters of the Chennai Kings are also banned for two years by Lodha and his panel. It plans to move the Supreme Court against the order of the court appointed committee against the verdict.

“The fact that Gurunath was an integral part of CSK and most people saw him as the face of the team, he ought not to have indulged in betting practices,” the committee said. “That the allegation of match-fixing against Kundra was not finally established does not matter because his status as owner has brought disrepute.” BCCI chief Jagmohan Dalmiya welcomed the panel’s order, and said the board was committed to ensuring transparency, accountability and cleansing the sport to restore the faith of millions of fans.

“BCCI is committed to honour and respect judicial decisions and it would give its observations after the entire report is read and a collective decision is taken,” a BCCI media release said. Meanwhile, Lalit Modi could not be happier about the turn of events and has said all the complicit BCCI officials should resign.

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