The 9th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will get underway on April 9, and would culminate on May 29, albeit without two franchises that have won the tournament in the past.
One of these two, the Chennai Super Kings (CSK), have won the competition twice, in 2010 and 2011, while the Rajasthan Royals (RR) won the inaugural tournament in 2008.
However, all of these laurels and accomplishments stood nullified, when in 2013, players as well as officials of the aforementioned franchises were found to be involved in illegal betting on cricket matches as well as in spot fixing.
The Justice Lodha Committee, that was appointed by the Honourable Supreme Court of India to look into the match-fixing scandal of 2013, after its investigation, decided to suspend the Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals for two years.
Hence, these teams won’t be participating in the IPL this year.
RR cricketers found in a fix
Three cricketers who respresened the Royals in the sixth edition of the IPL in 2013, S Sreesanth, who was a former India international, Ajit Chandila, and Ankeet Chavan were arrested by the Delhi Police for their alleged involvement in spot-fixing during the tournament.
Apart from the cricketers, certain officials such as Raj Kundra, former co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals, and Gurunath Meiyappan, the ‘team principal’ of the CSK, were also arrested for their involvement in betting and having contacts with the bookies.
Perhaps the most shambolic incident involving Indian cricketers since the 2000 fixing saga, the IPL spot fixing scandal of 2013 not only brought disrepute to the game but also affected the trust that the Indian cricket fans had on the game.
Sreesanth was alleged to have bowled deliberate no-balls in lieu of certain amount of money to favour the bookies. This act by the now-suspened Indian cricketer deemed him unfit to participate in cricket matches for India in the future, as he was banned for life by the BCCI.
His team-mates, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila, also received the same verdict as they too were accused of fixing. Another RR cricketer, Hiken Shah, was banned for 5 years by the BCCI for his attempts to approach another player for fixing activities.
However, after a year long legal tussle, all three cricketers along with the bookies, who were also arrested for their alleged role in fixing and betting, were acquitted of all charges by a Delhi court on July 26, 2015.
But, that verdict did not affect the BCCI’s decision one bit, as all three cricketers are still serving life bans.
CSK and RR face the wrath
The episode didn’t end here, however, as the focus then shifted towards further investigation to find out as to what led to the series of events that unfolded, and whether or not there were other involvements in the illegal activities.
After further investigation by Mumbai Police, it was found that Meiyappan also had links with the bookies and was in frequent contact with them related to unscruplous activities.
Bollywood actor Vindoo Dara Singh was the trail through which the police approached and arrested Meiyappan, as Singh was also found guilty of having links to bookies and was arrested. He was later released in June 2013.
Given such predicaments, and Meiyappan being the son-in-law of the then BCCI and ICC President N. Srinivasan, there were arguments that a free and fair trial of the case, ensuring full cooperation of the BCCI with the police, would not be possible unless Srinivasan remains at helm.
The Supreme Court then directed Srinivasan to step down from the position in order to enable a free and fair investigation.
Considering all of this, the Justice Lodha Committee found it in the best interests of the game that the two franchises be suspended from participating in the IPL for two years due to the failure on their part in curbing the menance of fixing within their own realms.
Hence, the Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals would not participate in this year’s IPL as well as in the next season in 2016, and have been replaced by two new franchises, the Rising Pune Supergiants and the Gujarat Lions, that were picked through the process of reverse-bidding.
Most of the players who represented the two tainted franchises have been bought by the new franchises as the then CSK captain and India’s limited-overs captain MS Dhoni would lead the Supergiants, while his teammate Suresh Raina would be captaining the Gujarat Lions.
Key players such as Ajinkya Rahane, Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja etc were all drafted into either of these teams and the rest of the players were sent for the auctions.
The show must always go on, and so it will, when the defending IPL champions, Mumbai Indians, would take on the Rising Pune Supergiants in the inaugural match of the IPL 2016 on April 9 at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai.Published 06 Apr 2016, 12:55 IST