Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra on Monday expressed shock at BCCI’s decision to suspend him on charges of gambling in IPL and said he was being made a “scapegoat” by people in powerful positions.
“I am shocked and upset at the unilateral decision taken today by the BCCI and will fight the grounds of suspension,” Kundra said in a statement.
“All sorts of accusations were made against me without proof, by people in powerful positions. It is sad that without accurate facts, I am being made a scapegoat and put under trial by the media based on unproved claims,” he added.
Kundra on Monday became the second team owner, after N Srinivasan’s son-in-law and Chennai Super Kings Team Principal Gurunath Meiyappan, to be suspended from cricketing activities.
The 37-year-old British Indian businessman was suspended by BCCI’s all-powerful working committee, pending completion of an inquiry.
Kundra said he was committed to the development of sports in India and was hurt by the allegations which were levelled against him.
“All those who know me are aware that sport is my first love. I own a minority 11.7 per cent share in Rajasthan Royals as well as a majority share of the Super Fight League in India which has become the largest MMA league in Asia within a year of its launch,” he said.
“I have singlehandedly provided job opportunities and training to 200 Indian fighters who were doing nothing but misusing their strength on the streets or in underground illegal fight clubs. I am currently working on football to develop its popularity amongst youngsters and also to provide better infrastructure and training to them.
“It shocks, saddens and hurts me when my integrity towards Sport is questioned, especially knowing that there are very few who have taken the initiative and been successful in the development of sport in India,” he added.
Kundra said such corruption will stop foreign nationals from investing in India.
“The most difficult part of the decision to marry Shilpa was the fact that she did not want to leave India. I made the choice of moving to India initially out of love for her, but have over the years fallen in love with India and all that comes with it,” he said.
“I am afraid that rampant corruption at different levels would serve a deterrent for foreign investors who may otherwise be willing to invest in India.”
Kundra said he could have batted on betting website legally if he wished to but he didn’t do it as he is well aware of ACSU rules.
“People need to realise that as a British national and NRI, IF I wanted to bet I could have done so off—shore on ANY betting website legally. However I did not do so as the IPL contract as per ACSU rules clearly states that owners cannot bet on the IPL,” he said.
He said team owners should be given a place in IPL governing board so that they can participate in the running of the sports body.
“In many BCCI meetings I have often suggested that team—owners be given a seat on the IPL governing board so that owners are involved in decision making, as in many international sports bodies,” Kundra said.
“Us owners are the ones heavily invested in the IPL and should have a voice in its functioning, however till date no team-owner’s body has been welcomed.
Kundra also made it clear that the other co-owners of the Rajasthan Royals franchise had nothing to do with his statement. “I further clarify that this is my view and is not related to any other share-holders or owners of Rajasthan Royals.
“I close by saying I trust in Justice and India! Thank you,” he added.