Vindoo Dara Singh lamented that Bollywood has shunned him after the scandal during IPL 2013 © PTI
Vindoo Dara Singh was arrested for his links with bookies © PTI

 

Feb 14, 2014

 

By Subhash K. Jha

 

Actor Vindoo Dara Singh, who was embroiled in a betting scam during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013, laments that politics has ruined the game and says that he stays clear of it now.

 

The Mudgal Committee report says that Vindoo Singh’s friend Gurunath Meyiappan was involved in the management of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) last season. But Dara Singh , who was arrested for his links with bookies, before being released on bail, is not shocked by the report.

 

“Why should it be a setback? I have nothing to do with all this. Ever since I was implicated in all this, I’ve not watched one ball of the game,” he said.

 

“All these controversies have taken a toll on the game. India is not performing well in the game. Politics has ruined the game,” he said.

 

Excerpts:

 

The Mukul Mugdal Committee has found Meiyappan involved in betting. Is that a setback for you?

 

Not at all! Why should it be a setback? I have nothing to do with all this. Ever since I was implicated in all this I’ve not watched one ball of the game. I will never again watch a match.

 

Are you saying you have nothing to do with the IPL and Meiyappan?

 

Of course I know Meiyappan. We are friends. We’re both lovers of the game. We are a country of cricket fans. But my point is, if they start going after people in the cricket business like this, then they might as well shut down the IPL and ban the game in the country.

 

I think the situation is not that simple?

 

The fight is between Lalit Modi and N  Srinivasan. One guy [Modi] feels he created the IPL. Now, with Srinivasan being appointed International Cricket Council (ICC)  president, he is now more powerful than before. Modi has been declared a fugitive. The IPL was started by him. He should just comeback and explain himself to the country.

 

In spite of the allegations Srinivasan has been made ICC president…

 

That’s because he hasn’t done anything wrong, you understand? A small fry like me is unfairly caught in the crossfire between these two giants. What have I done? Love for the game? That is a crime a majority of Indians are guilty of. We’ve nothing to do with betting. We’ve been unnecessarily implicated into all this. We don’t know who the hell this Ramesh Vyas is. We’ve been pushed into this.

 

Did you depose before the Mudgal Committee?

 

I couldn’t because I am fighting a case in a lower court. Our lawyer told us not to speak to the Committee unless our case was removed from the lower court.

 

Are you in favour of making betting legal in the country?

 

Absolutely. Also stop telecasting live matches. Once you do that the whole world is betting and speculating. Have a delayed live telecast. All these controversies have taken a toll on the game. India is not performing well in the game. Politics has ruined the game. With Sachin Tendulkar, the game has also come to a kind of closure.

 

Do you feel betting is right?

 

Yes, it should be made legal. But match-fixing is completely wrong. Anyone who has done it, should be sent to jail.

 

Do you feel isolated in the film industry?

 

Naturally, there is some apprehension about signing me. Whenever there is a report on match-fixing, Dara Singh’s name is there. Thankfully, the food on my table doesn’t depend on the largesse of the film industry. I’d rather not do two scenes in big films. I’ve just completed a Punjabi film called Jatt & James Bond. I play Zarine Khan’s brother in it.

 

Your closing thoughts?

 

I used to love the game but my love ended with Tendulkar’s career.