Bangalore/New Delhi, June 7, 2013, DHNS:
Facing termination prospects, an embattled Rajasthan Royals distanced itself from co-owner Raj Kundra, saying he has no role in the running of the franchise, and would be suspended if found guilty.
The Jaipur-based IPL franchise slipped into deep trouble after Kundra reportedly confessed to betting on his team before the Delhi Police on Thursday. According to IPL rule 11.3 (C), a franchise can be terminated if the owner or owners bring disrepute to the team or the league.
Royals, however, made it clear in a statement that Kundra had no involvement in the functioning of the team. Kundra would have to forfeit his shares in the franchise if he indeed breached any regulation.
“As a franchise, we have always been clear that the same rules apply to the players, management or the owners. As such, our actions will be consistent as in the case of the spot-fixing allegations with respect to our players,” said Rajasthan Royals chairman Ranjit Barthakur and CEO Raghu Iyer in a statement.
“Raj Kundra is a minority shareholder and he has no involvement in the running of the franchise. We believe that Kundra is a law-abiding citizen and would not act contrary to law.
“If however, he is proven guilty, or has breached any regulations, he will be suspended. 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.
Apart from Kundra, who holds 11.7 per cent shares in the franchise along with his wife Shilpa Shetty through Kuki Investment. Manoj Badale (Emerging Media, 32.4 per cent), Suresh Chellaram & family (44.2 per cent) and Lachlan Murdoch (Blue Water Estate Limited, 11.7 per cent) are the other shareholders.
The statement was issued after the Board of Control for Cricket in India convened an Emergent Working Committee meeting in Delhi on Monday to discuss issues related to the spot-fixing scandal, including the Kundra episode. The BCCI meeting will also discuss the report submitted by Ravi Sawani, chief of the Board’s ACSU, on the fixing charges against three Royals players, S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan.
In another development, Kundra has hired noted criminal lawyer Majeed Memon to defend him. “I was called by the Delhi Police since I am a minority shareholder of Rajasthan Royals and a few questions were put to me to which I have satisfactorily answered,” Kundra said in a statement issued through Memon.
“I would like to reiterate that I am innocent and equally anxious to know as to what went wrong within Rajasthan Royals. In case anything is established against me, I shall be willing to forfeit my shares in Rajasthan Royals,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police have claimed that Shetty placed a bet of Rs 1 lakh during this IPL season and they are planning to question Kundra again.
The police said Shetty placed a bet once during a match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils in the national capital. However, investigators have to verify the claims.
“Kundra will be questioned again very soon and if need be, Shetty too,” said a senior police officer.
The officer said Kundra, in his statement, claimed to have lost Rs 12.5 lakh in betting during this IPL season, Rs 40 lakh the previous year and Rs 50 lakh in 2011.
The officer, however, declined to “buy this argument.” “He had told us that he placed bets on matches played by Rajasthan Royals. In this season, his team won 11 out of the 16 matches it played and it is hard to believe that he lost money,” said a senior police officer.