BCCI suspends Meiyappan, Srinivasan assures fair probe (Second Intro Roundup)

Kolkata/Delhi/Chennai, May 26 (IANS) The Indian cricket board Sunday suspended Chennai Super Kings chief executive officer Gurunath Meiyappan, even as board chief N. Srinivasan, refusing to step down, announced that a commission would probe his son-in-law’s role in the spot fixing scandal, whose ramifications seem to be widening.

A Mumbai police team raided Meiyappan’s house in Chennai, while the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) promised to assist the police and regulatory authorities in the investigation into the raging scam, 11 days after it broke out, shaming India in the cricketing world.

Meanwhile, Delhi Police indicated three to four Indian Premier League (IPL) players are likely to be arrested after the final match being played between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens stadium.

A Delhi Police official said the names of these players surfaced during the questioning of Mohammed Yahya alias Yusuf, 45, a bookie who was arrested Friday morning from Hyderabad airport when he was trying to flee to Dubai.

“A team of Delhi Police has arrived in Kolkata,” said the source, adding that police is also in search of some more punters and bookies who contacted the three arrested players of Rajasthan Royals – S. Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan.

A Delhi court also sent arrested Indian pacer Sreesanth and Chandila to two more days of police custody till May 28 while a third player Chavan was sent to judicial custody till June 4.

The arrest of the three Rajasthan Royals cricketers May 16 had blown the lid off the biggest scam to hit Indian cricket of late.

In Kolkata, which saw hectic parleys among BCCI bosses struggling to find a way out of the mess, board secretary Sanjay Jagdale announced Meiyappan’s suspension.

“Pending further investigation and any subsequent hearing by the BCCI Disciplinary Committee or the IPL Code of Behaviour Committee, Mr. Meiyappan has been suspended by the BCCI from any involvement in the sport of cricket and in particular from any involvement with the Chennai Super Kings team,” Jagdale said.

Meiyappan gave himself up late Friday night to Mumbai police, who arrested him after a three-hour grilling. Meiyappan’s name cropped up after police arrested Bollywood actor Vindoo Dara Singh, who was seen in the VIP boxes during Indian Premier League franchise Super Kings’ matches.

Amid the clamour for his ouster from the top BCCI post, Srinivasan held a media conference here hours before the IPL final between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians.

“I will not shirk my duty… the BCCI will act without fear or favour to investigate, and if the circumstances so warrant punish any player, match official, team management or franchise that have breached BCCI or IPL regulations.”

Saying the media has been “unfair” in its attack, Srinivasan termed as untrue media reports of a “revolt in the BCCI” and said there was unity in the board.

“I have not been asked by anybody to resign, to the contrary, my support is complete and I refuse to yield to unfair and motivated attacks. I intend to continue my duties as president of the BCCI,” Srinivasan said, on a day he held a one-on-one with board senior vice president Arun Jaitley.

A section of the board officials felt Srinivasan should quit “at least temporarily” pending the inquiry into the scandal in which his close relative and franchise top honcho has got embroiled.

But Srinivasan went into the offensive against his detractors outside the BCCI at the media meet.

“Persons who have been suspended by the BCCI, known defaulters, fugitives from Indian justice system and other vested interests keen to discredit me and the BCCI have indulged in a smear campaign since the last few days.”

He said the proposed commission would include one independent member and two out of the following five: Jaitley, BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke, IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla, former India skipper Ravi Shastri and Jagdale.

“I am not part of the commission and I will not play any role in its appointment, deliberation or decisions,” Srinivasan said, but failed to give a timeframe for the panel to submit its report. “It will do it swiftly,” was all he would say.

He said the management of Rajasthan Royals, will also be subject to the same procedure.

He said the commission would look into whether Meiyappan was the owner of the CSK franchise or whether it has breached the operational rules of the franchise agreement.

“He (Gurunath) has been travelling with the team. He is enthusiastic. What his role was… whether he transcended any rule… the commission will find out,” said a distinctly uncomfortable Srinivasan, as mediapersons virtually grilled him on how his son-in-law managed to be in the team dug-out or carried a franchise accreditation despite being a mere “enthusiast”.

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