While betting/gambling is a minor, bailable offence under the CrPC, the BCCI rules are pretty harsh. If an owner is caught betting, his team franchise can be terminated. So, Rajasthan Royals runs the risk of being scratched as Kundra is one of its owners. Meiyappan’s status as CSK owner is disputed. If he’s found to be not an owner but an important official in the team, CSK won’t be scratched but will probably attract a hefty fine.
Kundra and his wife Shilpa Shetty went back to Mumbai on Thursday as Delhi police was undecided on whether to slap the anti-gambling laws against Kundra. Police sources said Kundra was betting for the past three years while his friend Umesh Goenka has been betting in matches for past 6-7 years and was also in touch with several bookies. The cops are now trying to ascertain whether the Kundra-Goenka betting link was in any way connected with spot-fixing.
Raj Kundra reportedly told the cops that being a British national, “he was unaware of the fact that betting was illegal in India”. He said that betting was legal in the UK. A policer officer, however, said that ignorance of the law was no defence. In any case, it was strange that Kundra didn’t find anything odd in the manner in which bets were placed in India.
Delhi Police sources say that Umesh Goenka, who was given VIP passes by Kundra for every RR match, used to talk to team players and would ask them about team’s strategy, pitch and other details and then place bets. Kundra gambled through Umesh, often by giving verbal instructions on the amount he would place and on what. In short, Goenka was acting as a bookie for Kundra.
Police have confiscated the passports of Kundra and Goenka to ensure that they do not leave the country during investigations. According to sources, Kundra became one of the owners of the team in the third season of IPL.
Reacting to police claims, Shilpa Shetty had tweeted earlier, “we love cricket, it’s the passion for the sport that made us a part of IPL. It’s extremely disheartening to keep clarifying that. For those who care, my apparent involvement in betting is complete nonsense and I have never bet on any cricket match ever. Truth will prevail. I won’t be saying any more as the case is sub-judice.”