IPL investigator BB Misra who now works with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has shed light on the relationship of one bookmaker with an owner of an IPL franchise.
According to BB Misra, Rajasthan Royals’ co-owner Raj Kundra has contacts with a bookie and says, “When Kundra was interrogated, he had initially denied everything. Then we confronted him with the version we got from the bookie. It was then that he admitted he was in touch (with the bookie). He (Kundra) had taken a gift from the bookie.”
“He (Kundra) said he did not know the bookie. But his mobile had the number of that bookie. He explained that it was an undesirable contact and he had to store it so if a call comes he will know that it is a bookie and he would not pick it up. Fair enough…but then he would not have accepted a gift. When you say he is an undesirable contact and ‘I don’t want to talk to him’, why did you accept a gift from him? Why did you allow him to come near you? This was a contradiction. So I reminded Raj Kundra of the gift he took,” Misra said.
Kundra, when contacted by the Indian Express, said that the gift was 10- gram gold chain for his newborn and a sweet named panjiri. He said that he didn’t expect the gift, but the bookie left it with his watchman.
“I had no idea this person was a bookie as it’s not written on anyone’s face. I met him first at a friend’s party. He piled on and was over-friendly and asked for IPL tickets for his son, which my bodyguard gave him. Once he turned up at my house with panjiri and a gold chain for my new-born. I told him I was on my way out and didn’t even entertain him. I declined but he left the panjiri and chain with my watchman. I never had any dealings with this person, other than on these two occasions,” Kundra told The Indian Express in a series of messages on WhatsApp.
Misra joined the IPL probe in 2014 on the Supreme Court’s orders after the Justice Mukul Mudgal Committee mentioned several cases of suspected fraud in the game in its report on fixing and betting in 2013 IPL edition.
During his four-month probe till October 31, 2014, Misra questioned over 100 people, including 30 players and top officials. His findings were part of Justice Mudgal’s final report that was submitted to the Supreme Court.
Kundra and Gurunath Meiyappan, the Chennai Super Kings team official, were later handed life bans for betting. Misra is now with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
Misra had recently quoted to the Indian Express that a former India player and 2011 World Cup winner was under suspicion for his alleged contact with a known bookie before an international match in the 2008-09 season.
“Whatever he told the Justice Mudgal committee initially turned out to be false. I am repeatedly saying that he may not have used the bookie for cricket or any betting or maybe he was not passing on information. But the fact remains that he was in contact with a bookie. He was misleading the (Mudgal) committee. To be in touch with a bookie, by itself was incorrect,” Misra said about Kundra.
“You can see how badly managed and rushed the whole case was. Only four names (of officials) have been made public and the rest of the names (players) have been kept in an envelope… I was (found) guilty of betting with absolutely zero evidence,” Kundra said.
Detailing his findings on a “suspect IPL game” between Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, Misra said, “there was a lot of noise that this match was fixed”. Meiyappan was a team official of CSK at the time.
“Fortunately for me, we had the telephonic conversation during that match of one of the persons against whom the allegation was that he is the one who fixed the match. We knew at what particular time he placed the bet in favor of Team 1. After some time, when Team 1 was not doing very well, though it was a stronger team, he started placing bets on Team 2. Then again the scenario changed and he started placing bets on Team 1,” Misra said.
“We checked his telephonic conversation with the timing, coordinated with the video of the match. It made a lot of sense because what was happening on the ground was prompting him to bet in a certain manner. If a match is fixed by this gentleman, then he would not have flip-flopped in his approach,” the IPL investigator said.
(with inputs from the Indian Express)