Crisis-ridden Rajasthan Royals and its under-fire co-owner Raj Kundra's future hangs in balance as the BCCI's Emergent Working Committee meets here tomorrow to deliberate on the IPL spot-fixing and betting scam and take action, if required.
The Board's head of the interim arrangement, Jagmohan Dalimya, was forced to call the meeting after the Delhi Police claimed that Kundra, a minority shareholder in Rajasthan Royal, has confessed to betting during the IPL matches. The BCCI is under immense pressure to take a tough stand in a bid to restore the credibility of the IPL which has taken a severe beating following the scandals.
"The entire Raj Kundra issue will be discussed at length. The members may also recommend that he should be suspended till the probe is completed. If he is found guilty, action will be taken. If he gets a clean chit, he can return to the position", a top BCCI official said.
If the charges are proved, Rajasthan Royals face the prospect of being terminated from the IPL and to avoid this fate, the franchise has already distanced itself from Kundra. The team is, in fact, ready to dump Kundra to save the franchise, stating that the businessman has no involvement in its running and would be suspended if found guilty.
Rajasthan Royals have also declared that Kundra would forfeit his shares in the franchise if he is found to be in breach of any regulations. "Mr. Raj Kundra is a minority (11.7%) shareholder, and he has no involvement in the running of the franchise. We believe that Mr. Raj Kundra is a law abiding citizen and would not act contrary to law," Rajasthan Royals Chairman Ranjit Barthakur and CEO Raghu Iyer had said in a statement. "If however, he is proven guilty, or has breached any regulations, he will be suspended, and he will also forfeit his shares. This is a strict governance procedure agreed to by all Rajasthan Royals shareholders, and it is consistent with our zero tolerance approach," the statement said.
As per clause 11.3 (C) of the franchise agreement, a team can be terminated in the event of any of the owners bringing the game into disrepute. Kundra and his wife Shilpa Shetty have 11.7% stakes in Rajasthan Royals through Kuki Investment.
Suresh Chellaram and Family (Tresco International Limited) have the bulk of the shares with 44.2% while Manoj Badale (Emerging Media) has 32.4% stakes. Lachlan Murdoch (Blue Water Estate Limited) has 11.7% stakes. The meeting is also expected to ratify the appointment of Sanjay Patel as the new Honorary Secretary. Patel will be replacing Sanjay Jagdale, who resigned in the wake of the spot-fixing scandal.
The BCCI would also deliberate on filling the post of Treasurer, which was vacated by Ajay Shirke. Shirke also put in his papers following the scandal. The name of T Venkatesh, the treasurer of Karnataka State Cricket Association, is doing the rounds as a possible candidate for the post. But RR's fate would be the focus of all the attention tomorrow.
The spot-fixing scam, in fact, began with the arrest of three RR players, including India Test pacer S Sreesanth. The scandal reached the BCCI power corridors when the Board President N Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan was arrested for alleged betting. Meiyappan, who is now out on bail, was suspended from all cricketing activities by the Board. Srinivasan, whose company India Cements owns CSK, also stepped aside from his post pending a BCCI internal inquiry after much criticism and coaxing by top Board officials in a stormy emergent working committee meet in Chennai last Sunday. Both Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals are on the same boat as Meiyappan was CSK's Team Prinicipal. CSK had also resorted to disowning Meiyappan to save the franchise, claiming that he was not the owner of the franchise.