Not Just Sports: IPL and spot-fixing – Flash back to 2013
The 2013 Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing and betting case came to the fore when the Delhi Police arrested three cricketers, Shanthakumaran Nair Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila, and Ankeet Chavan, on the charges of alleged spot-fixing. The three represented the team Rajasthan Royals (RR).
Fixing phenomenon had been part of the league the previous year too. The 2012 IPL spot-fixing case led to the banning of five cricketers. It started when a Hindi news channel, India TV, aired a sting operation. The five players had allegedly sought money in exchange for spot-fixing.
Under the table
Life-ban was offered on Deccan Chargers’ Taduri Prakash Sudhindra, a five-year ban on Kings XI Punjab’s Shalabh Srivastava, and a one-year ban on Pune Warriors India’s Mohnish Mishra and Kings XI Punjab’s Amit Yadav.
In addition, one Abhinav Bali, who was not in contact with any team during the 2012 season, was banned for a year. In the sting operation, Bali claimed to have spot-fixed during the 2009 season too.
The India TV said on 16 May, 2021: “Many IPL players confessed on hidden camera that they get much more than their prescribed auction amount under the table as black money. Shockingly, it was also revealed that big players of Indian cricket are involved in fixing the matches.”
Gurunath and AVM
In 2013, as the three RR players got arrested, Mumbai Police also arrested Vindu Dara Singh, Priyank Sepany — who was known to be a diamond dealer– and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) Team Principal Gurunath Meiyappan, for alleged betting in a separate case.
Meiyappan becomes special here. He is a member of AVM, the giant Indian film production studio founded by Avichi Meiyappa Chettiar aka A.V. Meiyappan.
AVM had introduced numerous legendary celebrities in the South Indian cinema such as Sivaji Ganesan, Rajkumar, S.S. Rajendran, Vyjayanthimala, Rajinikanth, and Kamal Haasan.
Gurunath and Srinivasan
Gurunath Meiyappan is the son of A.V.M. Balasubramanian, one of the five sons of A.V. Meiyappan and was also the Managing Director of AVM Productions and Entertainment, AVM Studios, and AVM Constructions.
Gurunath became son-in-law of Indian industrialist and former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President and the International Cricket Council (ICC) Chairman Narayanaswamy Srinivasan.
In July 2015, the Rajendra Mal Lodha Committee suspended India Cements and Jaipur IPL, owners of CSK and RR respectively, for two years. Srinivasan was the Managing Director of India Cements Limited. The BCCI suspended Sreesanth, Chandila, and Chavan till further investigation.
On 4 June 2013, Delhi Police said that the three players and 23 other people were arrested by them in the spot-fixing scandal. They were going to be charged with the provisions of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) since they had allegedly been acting under the command of underworld dons Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel.
But Sreesanth, Chandila, and Chavan were all released on bail on 10 June 2013 by a Delhi Court, due to lack of evidence to be charged under MCOCA yet BCCI banned Chandila for life. Sreesanth’s BCCI life ban was lifted by the Indian Supreme Court in 2019. In 2015, the Delhi Court discharged Chavan of all the charges and in June this year, BCCI lifted the life ban on Chavan.
Sreesanth’s father Shantakumaran Nair once termed his son’s arrest to be a “larger conspiracy” and blamed cricketers Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh for connecting his son with the scandal, but later retracted the statement.