IPL team owner told not to leave India

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 June, 2013, 9:19am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 June, 2013, 9:26am

Police in New Delhi investigating a spot-fixing cricket scandal on Thursday ordered the owner of an Indian Premier League (IPL) team not to leave India, an officer said.

Raj Kundra, husband of actress Shilpa Shetty and one of the owners of Rajasthan Royals, was ordered to hand over his passport to a police team trying to establish a link between corrupt players and organised crime syndicates.

“As Kundra is part of our investigations, he has been told not to leave the country and hand over his passport,” the senior officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Kundra was questioned by police for 10 hours on Wednesday.

So far, three players from his Rajasthan Royals team have been arrested over allegations of spot-fixing during the sixth edition of the cash-rich Twenty20 IPL tournament.

“He is basically found involved in betting and we have not yet been able to connect him to (spot) fixing,” the investigator said as police quizzed Kundra in New Delhi.

Police are unlikely to book Kundra under India’s anti-gambling law which is a bailable offence.

“We don’t want to lose focus from our main investigation into the involvement of crime syndicates” in the IPL, the officer said in an interview.

Test bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and two of his teammates were arrested last month, accused of deliberately bowling badly in specific IPL matches in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars from bookmakers.

A court denied the players bail on Tuesday after police said they had evidence to prove organised crime syndicates were involved in the scandal.

Delhi’s police commissioner said that players for some of the eight other IPL teams were also under suspicion.

The developments came two days after a Mumbai court granted bail to the son-in-law of India’s cricket chief who was also arrested last month over the illegal betting scandal.

Gurunath Meiyappan, part of the management of the Chennai Super Kings team, has been accused of placing bets on matches through a Bollywood actor who was also arrested.

Spot-fixing, in which a specific part of the match but not the outcome is fixed, is illegal. Betting on the IPL is also illegal under India’s laws which ban gambling on all sports except horse-racing.

Meiyappan is the son-in-law of Indian cricket board chief N. Srinivasan who on Sunday stepped aside pending the outcome of an internal probe into allegations of spot-fixing in IPL matches.