IPL spot fixing: Mumbai cops are right in not giving CSK boss more time

Giving a weekend to Meiyappan might even have left the cops with a weakened case, as the CSK ‘team principal’ has ample money and clout to cut a few trails that might lead to him – provided any such trail exists

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | May 24, 2013



While a Mumbai Police team did not find either Gurunanth Meiyappan, ‘team principal’ of IPL team Chennai Super Kings and son in law of BCCI chief and team owner N Srinivasan, at his home yesterday, and he sought to be excused for the weekend to present himself before the police, the cops have reportedly rejected his plea.

Meiyappan has been asked to present himself before the police by 5 pm today, according to unconfirmed reports.

The alleged trail led to Meiyappan during interrogation of Vindoo Randhawa, son of late wrestler and actor Dara Singh and bit player in Mumbai showbiz. According to information, Vindoo has told the police that Meiyappan lost a “khoka” (Rs 1 crore in Mumbai lingo) in bets placed through him in the ongoing IPL season.  

In a one-page fax  sent to the Mumbai Police’s crime branch on Thursday evening, Meiyappan said that he was out of town and will appear before the police on Monday. A five-member crime branch team reached Chennai on Thursday morning and pasted a copy of summons on his residence and delivered a copy at Chennai Super King’s office  since neither Meiyappan nor of his family members were available in Chennai.

That the cricket board has come down from its supercilious perch was evident by Thursday evening itself. Ratanakar Shetty, the CEO of BCCI, his IPL counterpart Sunder Raman met Mumbai crime branch chief Himanshu Roy at his office — the crime branch, besides Delhi Police’s special cell, is probing  the IPL betting and fixing  racket – and assured  him of “full cooperation” in the investigation.

This sure was a bit of a comedown for the board honchos, especially after their chief, Srinivasan, addressed the media through video-conferencing from Kodaikanal on May 16 and said, among other gems, stuff like, “One or two bad eggs here and there cannot sully the entire game”

While the first media reports that the Mumbai Police has refused to give Meiyappan an extension to appear before them began appearing late this morning (he could be declared a fugitive, making him open to face arrest, if he fails to show up between 11 am and 5 pm), there were also reports that he is unlikely to be questioned till the IPL is over. Which means Monday, as the final is to be played in Kolkata on Sunday.

If the latter turned out to be true, the question is, why would the police have given Meiyappan such a long rope? It’s not that anything concrete is established against him, and the police got wind of his alleged role only now – over a week after S Sreesanth and two of his Rajasthan Royals teammates were arrested on charges of spot-fixing matches in the ongoing tournament.

Giving a weekend to Meiyappan might even mean a weakened case for the police, as the industrialist has enough money and clout to cut a few trails that might lead to him – provided any such trail exists, that is.

If Meiyappan is involved in even betting, if not fixing, any undue delay in interrogation would widen the opportunity for others – from either the betting or the fixing syndicate, who may or may not have any direct link with the Chennai team honcho – to get away.

While the BCCI would surely want interrogation of franchisee honcho only after the tournament winds up successfully, that is not the police’s concern. They should focus on the probe on hand and try and question everyone possible at the earliest to get whatever leads they might get.

That might not be good for the gentleman’s game, but it’s the only way to keep gentlemen still caring for the game.

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