They were close friends on the golf course, frequently dined out and were always in touch. Yet, they claim they hardly knew the other was into betting.
This is the picture friends Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of BCCI president N Srinivasan, and Vikram Aggarwal, a city-based hotelier, painted before the CB-CID last year when they were questioned after their names became embroiled in the IPL betting scandal.
Leaked statements of Gurunath, Vikram and city-based bookie Utham C Jain alias Kitty, recorded by the CB-CID at various points last year, revealed that the trio had stitched a story that would find few takers.
Vikram, a close friend of Gurunath for 15 years, had confessed to his active involvement in betting. He admitted that he had placed bets through Kitty on every IPL match “in order to make the game of cricket more interesting” and “never lost money in cricket betting”.
For his part, Gurunath confessed that he had placed “friendly” bets at a “personal” level with Vindoo Dara Singh, a punter infamous for his links with players, team managers and bookies. But neither did Gurunath, according to the statement, know that Vikram was an active gambler nor did Vikram know Gurunath bet with Vindoo on the same matches that he had. When asked about Vikram’s gambling habits, Gurunath’s one-line answer was, “I am not aware.” Vikram too had told that he didn’t know Vindoo.
This was despite his averment that he and Vikram used to frequently talk over phone, that their families met twice a week and he regularly dropped in at Vikram’s Radisson Blu Hotel at Egmore, which incidentally Kitty used as his “office” to carry out betting during IPL-6 with Vikram’s approval. Even Kitty, who by Vikram’s admission became his close friend during the course of betting, believed that Vikram had inside information like “quality of CSK team” because of his friendship with Gurunath, who was the “team principal” of CSK before the IPL scandal.
“Vikram... knows the pitch condition and he gives suggestion regarding betting,” Kitty had told the CB-CID in May last. Vikram had acknowledged that Kitty was aware of his friendship with Gurunath and used to ask him information about the CSK team.