Shah Rukh Khan is perhaps one of the biggest stars in the Indian domestic T20 league, even though he stays 'off the field'. HT got the owner of Kolkata Knight Riders to talk on the current spot-fixing controversy. Excerpts:
What’s your take on the betting controversy as a team owner?
As a team owner, I don’t appreciate what’s happening. As a proud person and a sports lover, I think if you are on the game, apni film ki ticket black nahin karna chaiye. Hum toh nahi bechenge, kisi aur ko karna hai toh karne de.
I think as a team owner one should not indulge in all these practices even if you are a betting person by nature. If you’re an owner, you’re aware of all the rules and the loopholes and it’s undignified to misuse them.
If you’re a traffic cop, you should try not to jump the signal even in your private car. The attitude shouldn’t be ‘kisiko malum nahi hai chal na nikal le’.
What about Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra’s alleged involvement in betting?
He is Shilpa Shetty’s husband and she was one of my first heroines. I am very close to them. Raj is a friend. He doesn’t need it.
I’m sure he will fight this battle legally and something will come out of it. These are claims of bookies which need to be verified. I don’t think bookies should be believed the moment they take a name.
Do you feel Bollywood is under the scanner?
Anyone who bets or encourages people to fix matches whether from Bollywood or anywhere else is utterly disgusting! It’s wrong. And I truly believe in that because you are encouraging people to fix matches.
When I go to play a match and if I lose and my daughter cries and if that match is fixed, then I want to beat the shit out of it.
Do you gamble?
I am not a betting person. I take risks which are real. Not risks which are fixed. Even when sometimes we play with friends during Diwali, which is again a small amount of Rs.100, it’s all done in fun. I don’t take the money, even if I earn from it.
I’m Islamic about a few things. I’ve never taken illegal money or interest, or as we call it haram ka paisa. I have never loaned out money as a business. I am very clear about it.
Have you ever been approached by a bookie?
No. And whatever the enticement may be, I would never indulge in something like this. Betting is a disgusting habit. But I am no one to say that. It’s a Rs. 40,000 crore habit. And they should catch them all and punish them. Having said this, it doesn’t mean I’m judging others.
How do you clean up the game?
It should be dealt with like anything illegal. It will be good for sports as well as the morale of young people to believe sports can be a career option. Every job will have it issues. But sports, I feel should remain as clean as possible.
Sports is about facing the challenge and rising up to it. I think if they play sports they will be able to deal with the adversities of life. When my team won after four years, it made me believe that you can come back even after losing 20, 30, 40 matches.
Should betting be legalised?
A lot of things can be legalised in India but I think betting is something that has never been pertinent. I think we should somehow control the parallel economy. I mean black money and cash. It could be a choice exercised which eventually could do away with the illegal part of betting and the country can earn a lot through tax.