His alleged involvement in T20 betting scam landed him in Mumbai Police custody on Friday night. But Gurunath Meiyappan’s innings with betting goes a long way—since his school days.
Schoolmates remember Gurunath (38), a student of Don Bosco Chennai, as someone who not only loved to place a stake on cricket and snooker matches. He was also an “ultra-competitive” sportsman, said a former Don Bosco student.
“He came from a very rich and illustrious family. In those days, he would generally bet between Rs. 100 to 500, but only on sports,” says a schoolmate.
He was a regular feature of the cricket team of Don Bosco’s Falcon House and also loved snooker. “He not only put bet on his own performance but also on other players. Once I remember that he was betting which pocket of the snooker table will have maximum balls,” said a friend.
Although his grandfather AV Meiyappan was the founder of the legendary AVM studios — one of the oldest surviving film production units in the country, Gurunath was not keen on movies. His love for sports perhaps came from his mother Lalitha, who was one of Chennai’s top golfer and had even represented the country in the discipline.
“I would also like to describe him as an ultra competitive sportsman. He understood cricket very well. No wonder he played a major role in selecting players and setting up of the Chennai Super King team,” said a friend.
A senior in his school, who continues to be in touch with Gurunath describes him as a shy guy who “hardly spoke in the presence of N Srinivasan.” “Gurunath is extremely courteous and would walk up to greet seniors if he spots them from a distance,” he said.
BCCI chief N Srinivasan’s family enjoyed close ties with Maran family, particularly former union minister Murosoli Maran. And in school, Gurunath was seven years junior to Dayanidhi Maran.