The Pepsi Indian Premier League (IPL) was thrown into turmoil after a three-member Supreme Court-appointed panel suspended Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals, two of the top teams in the tournament, for two years. The committee, headed by former chief justice of India, R M Lodha, also slapped life bans on Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of International Cricket Council President N Srinivasan, as well as Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra, from any cricketing activity for their involvement in illegally betting on matches.
Making scathing remarks against the accused, Lodha said the credibility of the game had been damaged grievously. "His (Meiyappan's) habit of regularly placing bets in IPL matches renders the argument of his being first offender and unblemished antecedents in previous IPL tournaments of no worth. That he lost up to Rs 60 lakh in bets shows he engaged in heavy bets. It is his bad luck that he did not make money out of these bets," he added.
The committee, set up after the Supreme Court found Kundra and Meiyappan guilty of betting on the outcome of matches in 2013, also said its observations with respect to the much-talked about conflict of interest in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) would be given after interactions with various stakeholders of the game were completed.
The suspension of the two teams will have major financial consequences on the glitzy T20 league. While the BCCI will lose about Rs 100 crore in annual franchise fees from the two teams, it also clouds the future of the tournament, as the number of teams will come down from eight to six.