Ending a day-long drama, Mumbai police on Friday night arrested Gurunath Meiyappan, BCCI chief N Srinivasan’s son-in-law, over his involvement in the betting-scandal that has rocked the domestic T20 league.
At five minutes to midnight, Mumbai’s joint commissioner of police (crime), Himanshu Roy, informed the media about the arrest of the Chennai Super Kings team principal, the first team owner to be picked up. “We have interrogated Gurunath. Based on information from the interrogation, we find his involvement in the offence which we have registered. He would now be placed under arrest,” Roy said.
Meiyappan arrived at the commissioner’s office compound at 8.55pm and was escorted inside. Initial reports had said Meiyappan was proving a tough nut and refusing to answer his interrogators’ questions.
He had sought time till Monday but the Mumbai Police had turned down his request, apparently wanting to get him face-to-face with actor-bookie Vindoo Dara Singh as quickly as possible.
A team of officers from the Mumbai crime branch questioned him on a pre-decided line of investigation, including whether he passed on information on team strategies to bookies. Roy said: “We summoned Meiyappan based on the information that we gathered during Vindoo’s interrogation.”
Earlier in the day, with Meiyappan’s links to bookies bringing the fixing spotlight close to CSK, team owner India Cements seemed to feel the heat. Before he landed in Mumbai, it released a statement saying: “Meiyappan is neither owner, nor CEO or team principal of CSK. He is only one of the members (honorary) of CSK’s management team.”
Soon afterwards, Meiyappan’s Twitter bio, which read CSK team principal, was changed to managing director, AVM productions and entertainment, AVM studios, AVM constructions.
But the statement by India Cements — owned by Srinivasan — has only given rise to more questions.
For instance, why did Meiyappan’s personal and CSK’s official Twitter handles call him CSK team principal till 5pm Friday? And if he is just an honorary member, how did he have a ‘team owner’ badge with access to all areas on the ground other than the dressing room?
Meanwhile, in Hyderabad, police arrested a Bollywood spot boy in connection with the fixing case minutes before he was to take a flight to Dubai.
Hyderabad-born Mohammad Yahya — who has worked with actors Dilip Kumar and Anil Kapoor — is associated with the close aides of underworld dons Anees Ibrahim and Dawood Ibrahim, special cell sources said.
“He knows several cricketers, Indian and foreign, and acted as a link between them and international bookies and fixers,” they added.