Mumbai: His family is turning out to be his biggest enemy. Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief N Srinivasan, who is already facing the heat with his son-in law Gurunath Meiyappan being sought by the police in connection with the probe into the spot-fixing scandal in the IPL, now has to contend with his disgruntled son, who has opened a can of worms about the family’s “dubious connections”.
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Ashwin, 44, minces no words while disclosing his brother-in-law’s alleged involvement in betting and spot-fixing. “Guru (he addresses Meiyappan that way) had several connections with known bookies from Chennai and Dubai and was regularly in touch with them even before the IPL started.” he said. “What began as a relatively smaller side-business became a full-fledged one over the years.”
Pointing out how Meiyappan is a Chettiar, a community known for its affinity to trade and business, Ashwin told dna: “He has been steadily increasing his foothold over my father’s business. Publicly, his wife and my sister Rupa is an executive director in India Cements, my father’s company, and Guru has agreed to merely remain the head of Chennai Super Kings.”
The MBA in finance from Cornell University is equally forthcoming about his father’s “questionable” decision to invest in a small aircraft, which needed refuelling, when he could own one. “On all his trips, to and from anywhere abroad, isn’t it strange that the mighty N Srinivasan has to waste four hours in Dubai every time while his aircraft refuels? And mind you, the fuel halt will not be at Kuwait, Sharjah or anywhere else,” the son of BCCI’s most powerful man disclosed.
“Who are these regular golf partners he plays with on these halts?” According to Ashwin, Srinivasan has the wherewithal to buy a bigger aircraft, but still chose to invest in one which requires a fuelling halt “for convenient reasons”.
Turning his ire to his brother-in-law again, Ashwin says Guru is purposely poisoning his parents’ mind to ensure that the rift between them widens. A year ago, Ashwin accused his father of homophobia and of using his clout to unleash a cycle of violence against him and his partner Avi Mukherjee. The couple alleged that the police picked them up from Escobar, an upmarket Bandra restaurant-pub, on April 30, 2012, and beat them with iron rods at the behest of Srinivasan.
Calling his brother-in-law ungrateful, Ashwin said: “He keeps raising my drug-addiction problem to tell people how he was pushed into lending a helping hand in my father’s businesses when even he knows that I am more qualified and experienced than him.” As proof that his partner and he stayed away from drugs since 2002, Ashwin showed dna their urine reports. Their psychiatrist Dr SL Khanna confirmed the same.
Ashwin reveals that his parents were unhappy when Guru and Rupa started dating each other after meeting at the Madras Club while playing pool. “They were livid because he was not a Brahmin, but a Chettiar. My mother, Chitra, threatened to disown Rupa, but my father, who cursed Guru and his family to the skies after gulping down five scotches every evening, had no qualms joining him over golf given the clout of his family-run AVM Group,” said Ashwin, who has in the past headed the projects department at the ABB Group’s Zurich office.
According to him, his parents were in talks with chess champion Viswanathan Anand for marrying Rupa, but she eventually married Guru. “When my maternal uncle Shankar passed away, my parents did not want to call them for the last rites, but I persisted with my mother and saw to it that they were called,” he revealed.
“Though Rupa and Guru have not spoken to me since I fell foul with my parents, I feel no rancour against them. But how can I tolerate him maligning me for a drug problem from a decade ago to manipulate my parents?”
Repeated attempts to reach Meiyappan and Srinivasan on their cellphones and their Chennai and Kodaikanal residences drew a blank.