Raj Kundra confesses to betting on IPL matches

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Old 07-Jun-2013
Arrow Raj Kundra confesses to betting on IPL matches

Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra has confessed to betting on IPL matches, including matches involving his own team, Delhi's police commissioner has said. Kundra and his friend and business partner Umesh Goenka were called in for questioning by the Delhi Police at their Special Cell office, which lasted 12 hours.

"Raj Kundra has confessed to betting," Neeraj Kumar, the Delhi Police commissioner, told reporters. "He would place bets through Umesh Goenka, who is a bookie."

Later in the day Jagmohan Dalmiya, appointed to run the BCCI's affairs, said the board's working committee would discuss the issue at its meeting on Monday.

Kumar's statements came a day after the police interrogated the two intensively.The questions pertained to the operations of the Rajasthan Royals team, ownership patterns, security measures and processes in place. Goenka made a statement before a magistrate which can be treated as evidence in court, while Kundra submitted a written statement in front of a police officer.

Though Goenka doesn't have anything directly to do with the Royals management, he and Kundra, who bought a 11.7 per cent stake in the Royals ahead of IPL's 2009 edition, are partners in a steel business unit.

According to PTI, Goenka's name cropped up during Royals' bowler Siddharth Trivedi's statement in front of a magistrate at the Delhi Police special cell last week. Trivedi, the report said, had told the magistrate that Goenka had sought information related to team formation from him.

SN Srivastav, special commissioner of police, Delhi Police special cell told news channel CNN-IBN that Kundra had told interrogators that "he had lost a lot of money on betting, but we need to verify that. We are not taking everything at face value."

When asked why Kundra was allowed to leave, Srivastav added: "Our focus of this case is fixing and not on betting. At this stage, the evidence we have against RK and Goenka is that of betting. We are still in the process of collecting more evidence. And we'll take a call as we proceed."

Following the questioning, Kundra lashed out at the media via his twitter account for its coverage of the story. "Good morning woke up to news raj kundra faces the heat. yes it's very hot in Mumbai. Media has misconstrued everything using unreliable sources. Try speaking to the Main guys at crime branch. Why does media hype things and make such stupid claims to sell news. Is there an arrest warrant? I am back home in Mumbai. Kindly let Delhi crime branch do their work. media stop using derogatory statements," he tweeted.

The interrogation was part of the investigation into the arrests of three Rajasthan Royals players allegedly for spot-fixing during the Indian Premier League's sixth edition. The arrests of S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan were followed by those of several bookies and Chennai Super Kings' team management member Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of BCCI chief N Srinivasan who was later released on bail.

It was followed by former BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale, who had signed the tripartite player contracts involved between the BCCI, franchises and players and IPL chief operating officer Sundar Raman visiting the Delhi police headquarters for providing requisite information.

The corruption scandal has overshadowed the on-field performance of Rajasthan Royals during the sixth edition of the IPL, which concluded on May 26. The Royals finished third this season, their first top-four finish since their triumphant campaign in IPL's inaugural edition in 2008. Since the 2008 triumph, Royals have been embroiled in various controversies.

The team - owned by a consortium of four business conglomerates - was often accused of having been given by soft corner by founding chairman Lalit Modi. Suresh Chellaram, whose family owns the largest stake in the Royals, is Modi's brother-in-law. As a result, Modi's ouster from the BCCI and IPL was soon followed by the BCCI expelling Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab for a breach of the franchise agreement. However, Royals took the legal recourse and were reinstated into the IPL well in time before the 2011 auction.

The Royals have also been under the scanner for their monetary flow, with the Enforcement Directorate having issued multiple notices to them for an alleged breach of regulations. With the ownership pattern and monetary transactions being questioned time and again, the moneyball team of the IPL has been in the news more for off the field activities than on it since the inaugural season.

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