As Gurunath Meiyappan was arrested in the wake of betting investigations connected to the IPL spot-fixing scandal, beleaguered Indian cricket Board president, N Srinivasan, sought to distance himself from his son-in-law, calling the face of Chennai Super Kings just a “cricket enthusiast”.
While most available information showed Meiyappan was CSK’s team principal, his presence in the team dugout for every game only reinforced it. Still, Srinivasan insisted Meiyappan had no official role in the franchise after he was arrested by the Mumbai Police.
The BCCI chief has also insisted he cannot be held accountable for his son-in-law’s actions.
While Meiyappan has been charge-sheeted since, Srinivasan, despite his re-election as BCCI president on Sunday, is barred from assuming charge by the Supreme Court until it disposes of a petition that wants a fresh internal probe conducted into the role of Meiyappan and other IPL team officials.
But a CSK insider, none other than Australian batsman Mike Hussey, has made it clear it was indeed Meiyappan who ran the show at CSK, owned by Srinivasan’s India Cements.
Hussey, who featured in all six editions of the IPL from 2008 and is currently playing for CSK in the Champions League Twenty20, has thrown light on the issue in his new autobiography, ‘Underneath the Southern Cross’, putting Srinivasan’s claims in perspective.
“Our owner was India Cements, headed by Mr Srinivasan,” Hussey writes in his book, which is quoted by a cricket website.
“As he was also on the board of the BCCI, he gave control of the team to his son-in-law Mr Gurunath. He ran the team along with Kepler Wessels, who was coach.”
Hussey is the first player to say that Meiyappan was in charge of CSK. Although former South Africa skipper Wessels was coach in the inaugural edition, Hussey’s revelation will only add to the discomfiture of Srinivasan as he fights to stay afloat, with the Supreme Court’s next hearing set for October 7.
The BCCI’s two-member inquiry panel comprising former High Court judges controversially cleared Meiyappan and other officials of any wrongdoing. However, the Bombay High Court struck down the panel as unconstitutional following a PIL filed by the Cricket Association of Bihar (CAB).
The CAB then petitioned the apex court seeking directions to form a new panel and bar Srinivasan from staying in his post. The court has asked the BCCI to consult the petitioners on setting up a fresh inquiry panel and asked Srinivasan to stay away until it delivers its verdict.
With the Mumbai crime branch charging Meiyappan with forgery, cheating, criminal conspiracy, breach of contract and providing team information to bookies, it is to be seen whether Srinivasan’s stand that he cannot be held responsible for his son-in-law’s actions will hold good in court.