Friday, March 28, 2014

Dhoni lied about Meiyappan's role in CSK, alleges Salve

Senior advocate Harish Salve on Thursday accused MS Dhoni, captain of both the Indian cricket team and the Chennai Super Kings IPL team, of lying about the role of Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of N Srinivasan, to the Supreme Court-appointed committee probing allegations of betting and spot-fixing in IPL. Appearing for Cricket Association of Bihar, Salve told a bench of Justices A K Patnaik and FMI Kalifulla that Dhoni, who is also a vice-president in India Cements (which owns CSK), had -- along with Srinivasan -- told the Mudgal probe committee that Meiyappan "had nothing to do with the cricketing affairs of CSK and was a mere cricket enthusiast supporting CSK". In its report, the probe panel stated, "Though the de-jure ownership (of CSK) vests with India Cements, the committee finds that Meiyappan was in fact acting as a team official if not the de-facto owner of CSK". It added that he had access to sensitive information, including team strategy. The panel had found him guilty of betting but had said further probe was necessary to establish whether there was truth in the spot-fixing allegations against him and others. Salve drew from the panel's critical comments relating to Meiyappan to slam Dhoni's conduct. He said, "MS Dhoni is a vice-president of India Cements and captain of CSK. Look at his statement! You are also the captain of Indian cricket team and you are making a wrong statement supporting Srinivasan's stand before the inquiry panel that Meiyappan was a mere cricket enthusiast. "Captain of Indian team is found guilty of corrupt conduct. He and Srinivasan were found making false statements before the apex court committee. This shows both Dhoni and Srinivasan indulged in a cover-up operation. That by itself is a corrupt conduct. For this, the CSK franchise should be terminated. But BCCI lets them off the hook with a mere reprimand. That is because Srinivasan comes to BCCI wearing a different hat, that of the board president. "This shows the malady runs deep. The conflict of interest runs deep. L Sivaramakrishnan, R Ashwin, M Vijay and Ravindra Jadeja are all employees of India Cements. And here is Meiyappan having access to crucial team information and putting huge bets through punter Vindoo Dara Singh." Salve said Srinivasan's seamless transition between India Cements chairperson and BCCI president must be taken to be at the core of the maladies haunting IPL and requested the court to hand over further investigation to an outside agency as BCCI could no longer be trusted with the probe. "To unravel the entire facts behind the scandal, the probe needs to be handed over to CBI which must interrogate Meiyappan in custody. Only then will everything come out," he said, adding India Cements was "directly responsible for Meiyappan's conduct as it sought accreditation for him as official of CSK". Salve said Srinivasan wears one hat and tells the SC panel that Meiyappan was a mere cricket enthusiast and then replaces the India Cements hat with the BCCI one to let off CSK with a reprimand. This made the court remark that "Srinivasan is a multi-faceted personality, an all-rounder". When Salve said the truth had an uncanny habit of popping out, the bench said, "We all believe in 'Satyameva Jayate' (truth alone prevails). Truth may be suppressed for sometime, but ultimately it comes out and prevails."

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