Feb 11, 2014
In what may turn out to be an interesting twist in the Indian Premier League (IPL) match-fixing saga, Rajasthan Royals (RR)owners Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty may have been found guilty of partaking in fixing matches if it were not for the cops in Delhi and Jaipur to come to their rescue.
The subsequent Justice Mudgal panel which is in place for the match-fixing saga has also pointed out the fact that Kundra and Shilpa may have directly been involved in influencing players and also notes that the duo may be in trouble provided they are found guilty, reports First-Post.
The panel which brought out a report on the ongoing saga has also strongly hinted that if it were not for the unwillingness on the Jaipur police’s part to pursue the case against Kundra for fixing matches, both owners could already have been in a lot of trouble as of lately.
The panel also states that apart from not taking the probe against Kundra and Shilpa further, there was also a hurried cover-up of the entire scandal the Rajasthan were in, which may have helped the owners escape without getting indicted.
Kundra and Shilpa hold a minority stake in Rajasthan and unlike other franchise owners, they have a well-defined role in the functioning of the team.
The panel also has revealed that Kundra and Shilpa had placed many bets on numerous IPL matches courtesy their friend Umesh Goenka, and had also introduced the latter to many other IPL teams and players.
Going by the reports of the panel the case against Kundra and Shilpa looks definitely strong since they also allegedly guided Goenka in meeting up with bookies to hold bets in Jaipur.
“The committee posed a specific query to him in relation to his confessional statement made before the Delhi Police under Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), which was subsequently withdrawn by him, wherein he had admitted to betting in the IPL,” said the report.
“The committee is of the view that the statement recorded goes beyond mere admittance and records the manner in which and the amounts of bets placed, wherein he has stated that he had placed one such bet, from the phone of his wife…,” added the report.
“He [Goenka] stated that Kundra used to place bets. The police told us that Goenka had stated that whenever he used to ask Kundra any information relating to a team or a match, Kundra would tell him to directly contact the players. This is because Kundra knew that Goenka was friends with players,” said the report further.
Though the above mentioned information was forwarded to the Jaipur police in June 2013, still no further action was taken against Kundra and Shilpa, reports the probe panel.
The committee now wants a thorough investigation to take place against Kundra and Shilpa and wants to clear the controversy once and for all.
“After a thorough investigation, if the allegations of betting and/or spot fixing/match fixing can be proved, appropriate action should be taken against Kundra and Shetty as well as the franchise,” said the report.
“There seems to have been an effort to cover up the involvement of Kundra in betting. In terms of the regulations in force of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), even legal betting is not permitted on the part of an owner of a franchisee,” said advocate Nilay Dutta, who was a part of the three-member panel.
“There are materials on record which justify an appropriate investigation to ascertain the culpability of Kundra and his wife in placing bets as owner of a franchisee in IPL. Any such culpability on the part of the Kundras would fasten liability on the franchisee,” added Dutta.
But the ongoing investigation against match-fixing may have come too little too late as the alleged culprits have already have got enough time to get away scot-free, considering the lack of interest and evidence against them.
And the most ironic part may be that of the case being dropped against Kundra and Shilpa, thanks to the role played by the Jaipur and Delhi cops.
Also on cricketcountry.com