Facing prospect of termination following betting charges on one of its owners, Rajasthan Royals on Friday distanced itself from Raj Kundra, saying he had no involvement in running of the franchise and would be suspended if found guilty. Reacting to reports over Kundra’s involvement in betting, the Rajasthan Royals said that he would also forfeit his shares in the franchise if he has breached any regulations.
“As a franchise, we have always been clear that the same rules apply to players, management or owners. As such, our actions will be consistent as in the case of the spot fixing allegations with respect to our players,” Rajasthan Royals Chairman Ranjit Barthakur and CEO Raghu Iyer said in a statement.
“Mr Raj Kundra is a minority (11.7%) shareholder, and he has no involvement in the running of the franchise. We believe that Mr Raj Kundra is a law abiding citizen and would not act contrary to law. If however, he is proven guilty, or has breached any regulations, he will be suspended, and he will also forfeit his shares. This is a strict governance procedure agreed to by all Rajasthan Royals shareholders, and it is consistent with our zero tolerance approach,” the statement said.
The franchise statement is seen as a clear attempt to distance itself from Kundra as it faced the prospect of their contract being terminated.
As per clause 11.3 (C) of the franchise agreement, a team can be terminated in the event of any of the owners bringing the game into disrepute.
The BCCI has called an Emergent Working Committee meeting here on Monday to discuss the Kundra issue and take action if required.
Chennai Super Kings also finds itself in a similar problem with its Team Principal Gurunath Meiyappan, who is the son-in-law of BCCI President N Srinivasan, being suspended on charges of betting. The CSK has, however, denied that he is an owner of the team.
The statement said that Rajasthan Royals has been assisting the police in the investigations and cooperating with the authorities to ensure a thorough inquiry.
“In the last few days, various members of the RR management have been assisting the Delhi Police in their investigation for a better appreciation and understanding of the matter.
“As we have stated before, we are cooperating with the authorities to ensure a thorough inquiry and will continue to share any such information that they may seek from us in the future. We are working hard as co-complainants to ensure that all information is made available to the authorities,” the Jaipur-based franchise said.
“We remain committed to our fans and sponsors, and we remain focused and fully committed to working with the authorities to complete their reviews,” it said.
Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar had said on Thursday that Kundra had confessed to betting in T20 League matches, adding a new twist to the ongoing betting and spot-fixing scandal that has rocked Indian cricket.
Kundra and his wife Shilpa Shetty have 11.7% stakes in Rajasthan Royals through Kuki Investment. Suresh Chellaram and Family (Tresco International Limited) have the bulk of the shares with 44.2% while Manoj Badale (Emerging Media) has 32.4% stakes. Lachlan Murdoch (Blue Water Estate Limited) has 11.7% stakes.
Rajasthan Royals has been at the centre of the spot-fixing scandal with India paceman S Sreesanth and three of their players – Ankeet Chavan, Ajit Chandila and Amit Singh – being arrested on charges of spot-fixing. All the four players are still in judicial custody.