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Sydney (AFP) – Indian cricket chief N. Srinivasan's son-in-law ran the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Chennai Super Kings team, ex-Australia star Mike Hussey has claimed, in comments that could add fuel to a spot-fixing scandal.
Srinivasan's son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan has been charged by Mumbai police with forgery, cheating, criminal conspiracy, breach of contract and handing critical team information to alleged bookmakers.
But the embattled Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief, under fire for a family member's alleged involvement in the scandal, has maintained that Gurunath was only a "cricket enthusiast" even though he sat in the team dug-out during matches and took part in IPL auctions.
Hussey, who has been part of the Chennai Super Kings franchise since the Twenty20 competition's first edition in 2008, asserted in his new autobiography 'Underneath the Southern Cross' that Meiyappan was running the team.
"Our owner was India Cements, headed by Mr. Srinivasan," Hussey wrote, according to excerpts published on the ESPNCricinfo website. "As he was also on the board of the BCCI, he gave control of the team to his son-in-law Mr. Gurunath. He ran the team along with Kepler Wessels, who was (then) coach."
Hussey is the first player to openly state that Meiyappan was in charge of the team. His comments could cause further trouble for Srinivasan, who won a third year in office on Sunday.
The Supreme Court has barred Srinivasan from taking charge until it has ruled on a petition by a cricket body in the eastern state of Bihar that he had no moral right to continue after Meiyappan was charged.
Srinivasan has distanced himself from Meiyappan, saying the law would take its own course and he himself could not be held accountable for his son-in-law's actions.
The scandal has already seen two Rajasthan Royals players, Test fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and upcoming spinner Ankeet Chavan, banned for life by the BCCI.
An internal BCCI probe, which cleared Meiyappan and other IPL officials of wrongdoing, has been termed "illegal" by a court which ruled that Srinivasan may have had a hand in its formation.
International news organisations, including Agence France-Presse, have suspended their on-field coverage of matches hosted by the BCCI since last year after the board imposed restrictions on picture agencies.