MUMBAI: Rajasthan Royals owner and husband of Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty, Raj Kundra, has slammed the BCCI for suspending him from the IPL on charges of gambling. In a statement, Raj Kundra said that he was shocked and upset by the decision taken by the BCCI and that he would fight the grounds of suspension.
Raj Kundra’s suspension comes on the heels of Chennai Super Kings team principal Gurunath Meiyappan’s suspension after the latter’s name came up in the spot-fixing controversy recently.
Raj Kundra says, “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.”
A major revelation by Raj Kundra was that he could lay bets legally if he wanted to but did not because he was aware of the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (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.
Raj Kundra feels that IPL team owners should be made a part of the governing body. “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,” he felt.
He is hurt by these allegations of gambling against him. He felt his love for sports was being questioned and reminded everyone that he owned a minority 11.7 per cent share in Rajasthan Royals as well as a majority share of the Super Fight League in India which became the largest Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) league in Asia within a year of its launch.
“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 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.”
Raj Kundra says that although he is an NRI, he has come to love India in the course of his marriage with Shilpa Shetty.
“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.
Raj Kundra also retained hope that India’s justice system would prove him innocent and that he would make a return to the IPL, unscathed.
BusinessOfCinema.com reached out to Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty, but they could not further comment as they were bound by law.