iconimg Sunday, August 30, 2015

S Raju, Hindustan Times
Meerut, April 04, 2013
Indian Premier League cricketer Praveen Kumar’s middle name could be “controversy”. Days after Praveen was suspended by the BCCI and dubbed “mentally unfit to play” by an umpire, his flat in Meerut was found to be a field for a rather different game: filming sex MMS and extortion.

By all appearances, it was a case of love, sex and dhoka, with a slight twist.

Kunwarpal, Sanjay and Praveen’s cousin Puneet Kumar had been long-time buddies. A former executive engineer in Meerut’s irrigation department and currently posted in Aligarh, Kunwarpal had known the men – contractors associated with the department – since 2008.

On March 31, Kunwarpal attended a party they were throwing for him. Little did Kunwarpal know that it was a case of entrapment, that his ‘sexcapades’ with two women there would end up as MMS.

Armed with the MMS, his “friends” made him sign a cheque of R51 lakh, Kunwarpal told the police on Wednesday.

Only when the investigations began, it came to light that the flat where all this took place belonged to Praveen, said an officer from Inchoauli police station.

Praveen is currently playing for the IPL. A tad defensive, his brother Vinay Kumar said the house was rented out to Puneet a month ago, and hence, they had “nothing to do with what happened there”.

But given his past history, the ace bowler might just be hit for a six again.

Back in 2008, Praveen had been accused of assaulting a doctor in Meerut. In 2011, he was involved in a fracas with a spectator in West Indies. Ditto in England. In 2013, he had allegedly head-butted a player during a domestic match.

The worst indictment comes from a letter by an umpire to KVP Rao, BCCI’s game development manager, which said Praveen is constantly abusing on the pitch and he is “not in a mental frame to play the game”.