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Pressure mounts on BCCI chief to quit

 MADURAI/NEW DELHI, May 24 (PTI): Pressure mounted for the resignation of BCCI President N Srinivasan in the wake of alleged involvment of his son-in-law and CSK team owner Gurunath Meiyappan in betting on IPL matches even as questions were raised over the future of Chennai franchise.

The 35-year-old Gurunath, who has been summoned by Mumbai Police for questioning after actor Vindoo Dara Singh implicated him in betting, flew to Mumbai from Madurai in a chartered aircraft a little after the 5 pm deadline set by police for questioning.

After consultations at the estate of his father-in-law and BCCI President Srinivasan, Gurunath drove to Madurai and left for Mumbai in a special aircraft accompanied by a noted Chennai lawyer P S Raman. In attempts to cut losses, India Cements, which owns Chennai Superkings and is run by Srinivasan, sought to distance itself from Gurunath, saying he is neither the owner nor CEO or the Team Principal of CSK.

“Mr Gurunath is only one of the Members (Honorary) of the Management team of CSK. India Cements follows zero tolerance policy and if anyone is proved guilty, strict action will be taken immediately.

“India Cements assures full cooperation with BCCI and the law enforcement authorities,” a statement issued by T S Raghupathy, Executive President of the company said.

However, woes for Srinivasan appeared to be mounting with demands for his resignation getting louder.

The NCP headed by Sharad Pawar, a former BCCI President, demanded that Srinivasan quit immediately “if he has any sense of morality and public accountability”. Party spokesman D P Tripathi told a press conference that Srinivasan was under a shadow of doubt after his son-in-law had been summoned by Mumbai Police for questioning.

Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy, whose team Pune Warriors exited the IPL couple of days ago, also demanded Srinivasan’s resignation and his replacement by Sharad Pawar.

Questioning Srinivasan’s conflict of interest in the game, Roy said Chennai Super Kings’ contract should be terminated immediately in the wake of franchise owner Gurunath’s name cropping up in the spot-fixing scandal.

“If a franchise is involved in betting their contract should immediately be scrapped. If a owner is involved in betting it’s wrong,” he said.

Analysts say that if Gurunath is arrested by Mumbai Police and charges are levelled against him, it may threaten CSK’s continuance in the hugely popular T20 league.

They cite a rule in the IPL contract for teams which provide for termination if a franchisee, any franchisee group company and/or any owner acts in any way which adversely affects the reputation or standing of the league, the BCCI- IPL or the game of cricket.

As the spot-fixing saga continued, a middle-aged man, who is associated with Bollywood and had alleged links with the underworld, was arrested at Hyderabad airport in connection with the IPL spot-fixing scandal minutes before he was to board an aircraft to flee to Dubai.

Investigators claimed that Mohd Yahya was in touch with players of more than one team, including Rajasthan Royals, to spot-fix matches for bookies.

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