In the world of cricket, he was a non-entity till 2008, when the IPL was launched. Though he had a passion for golf, Gurunath Meiyappan (38), the disgraced son-in-law of BCCI Chief N Srinivasan, was catapulted into cricketainment as Team Principal of Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
With his family’s engagement with the tinsel world, it was he who brought the film stars into the CSK platform. A regular at the Guindy Golf Course, he used to spend the vacation at the family’s palatial bungalow in the hill resort of Kodaikanal, from where he left for Mumbai to appear before the police on Friday.
The grandson of AV Meiyappa Chettiyar, who founded AVM Productions in 1948, he never evinced great interest in films. Gurunath was co-opted as a partner of AVM Productions by his father M Balasubramaniam and paternal uncle M Saravanan until his father decided opt out of the partnership in the later part of the last decade. Despite producing a big-budget Vijay-starrer, ‘Vettaikaran’, he found that film was not his cup of tea.
AVM has a reputation of producing over 170 films in several Indian languages. Interestingly, it had bankrolled most number of Rajnikanth movies.
Further, it is one among the five studios in the world that has been functioning without a break for over 60 years.
An avid golfer, he had won a national open golf tournament in the 1990s. It was on the golf course that he had dated his school-mate and future wife, Rupa, the daughter of Srinivasan. Despite initial hurdles, he married her in 2001 and was brought to the world of cricket.
Gurunath’s construction company had huge land banks in the State that he developed following a legal settlement after resolving disputes.
When AC Muthiah, former president of BCCI, challenged Srinivasan for owning CSK while also being the office-bearer of BCCI,
Gurunath was elevated as Team Principal and Chief Executive Officer of CSK. Remaining elusive for the rest of the year, he turned active during the two-month-long IPL season.
Sources said he would be present during team meetings but would keep a low profile. He would exchange a word or two with the players.
He has now been disowned by his embattled father-in-law, although the move is being seen as a ploy to save the CSK after his arrest. Disowning, after all, is nothing new to Srinivasan, who had earlier banished his son.