IPL betting row: CSK, Raj Royals banned for 2 years

RSTV Bureau

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Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, two heavyweight teams of the popular cricket series IPL have been suspended for two years after their key officials Gurunath Meiyappan and Raj Kundra were found involved in the betting during 2013 season.

Both Meiyappan and Kundra too have been handed a life ban from being involved in any form of cricket match conducted by the BCCI.

The punishment was handed down by Supreme Court-appointed three-member committee headed by former Chief Justice of India R M Lodha. The committee, in its verdict, held that the betting activities of Gurunath Meiyappan, considered the face of CSK owners, and Raj Kundra, co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals, have brought the game of cricket, BCCI and IPL into disrepute.

The Committee that was formed by the apex court in January this year recorded testimony of more than 40 people and even examined the contentious officials before arriving at the verdict.

Addressing the media after pronouncing their verdict, ex-CJI Lodha, who led the three-member committee said the next issue before them is of ‘conflict of interest’ in the BCCI.

“Conflict of interest questions have been raised, once we complete the process of interacting with all the stakeholders, we will take a view on that. That exercise is not complete. This order is confined to determining the quantum of punishment to the two individuals and the franchises,” Justice RM Lodha told the press.

“We have interacted with 40-45 people and we are yet to meet a few others. Once that is done we will decide what guidelines are to be given…Our idea is to get inputs from all stakeholders. It is not confined to cricket administrators and politicians,” RM Lodha added further.

However, the committee refused to comment on the criminal cases pending against the suspended officials, saying, “No aspect touching criminal liability has been decided by us”.

Also, the committee has left it to the BCCI to decide on the future of the two franchisees in case they go for the change of its ownership.

“This question was brought to us. But the BCCI has to take a call and whatever the legal course is there, it is available. You must appreciate that we cannot address every aspect of the matter,” Justice Lodha added.

On the question of the impact this ruling will have on the players attached with the two suspended franchises, Justice Lodha said the game is bigger than the individuals.

“Players will not be attached to a franchisee which has been suspended. We thought that if cricket is bigger than individuals then financial loss to players and franchises is not of significance,” the former Chief Justice of India said.

(With inputs from the PTI)