Chennai: The spot fixing saga has opened a Pandora's box and more skeletons are tumbling out at the speed of a straight six from the flashy bats of Chennai Super Kings' powerful batting lineup.
If CSK Team Principal Gurunath Meiyappan's alleged link with arrested bookie Vindoo Dara Singh is a body blow to BCCI, the pictures of Murali Vijay and Suresh Raina partying with the daughter of Chennai betting industry's kingpin -Prashant -has sent shock waves.
For starters, like their counterparts who host colourful parties with Bollywood damsels, CSK camp too has been bursting with `exclusive parties', but rather quietly. Gurunath's connection with tinsel town -which can be traced back to his family who own the iconic production house AVM - could have opened the door for several actresses who got easy access to the Chennai players. One such instance was Lakshmi Rai getting introduced to M S Dhoni in an after-match party at the team hotel in Chennai during the inaugural edition in 2008.
Lakshmi Rai, who was seen walking into a party with Gurunath a day after her birthday in 2008, was spotted riding pillion to Dhoni the same night on his Superbike — the monster machine was reportedly a gift from Super Kings management. It didn’t just end with the night ride as Lakshmi Rai became a regular fixture at Chepauk’s VIP box and the grapevine had it that the actress and the cricketer were an item.
Later, Lakshmi Rai was even linked with pacer Sreesanth following their hot photoshoot in Kerala.
Another incident which puzzled the entire fraternity in Kollywood was the unceremonious sacking of Nayanthara as the brand ambassador of CSK.
The actress apparently got the boot for ‘not turning up at Chennai’s matches’, according to Gurunath in an earlier interview to a website.
During IPL-6, actor Kamal Haasan’s daughter Shruthi had reportedly spent a lot of time in the CSK camp cheering the team from the VIP box.
She, a little birdie told us, has also been spotted with CSK’s left-handed batsman Suresh Raina who drives a Porsche on the streets of Chennai.
In a funny story involving Raina's Porsche, the cricketer is believed to have dumped the car on Boat Club road when it broke down abruptly, leaving the car's key with a couple of strangers and telling them - “I will have a shower in my hotel and come back in 10 minutes, wait here.“
Arrested `bookie' Vindoo was first seen at a match between Mumbai Indian and Chennai Super Kings on April 6. Not only was he spotted sitting next to Sakshi Dhoni, he was also filmed interacting with Arun Pandey (Dhoni's manager) and Arthy - wife of CSK player Anirudha Srikkanth and daughter-in-law of Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor Kris Srikkanth.
After play, Vindoo had told a newspaper that he had attended the IPL match on Gurunath's invite. “I must have received thousands of calls that night. I really did not think that sitting next to Sakshi (Dhoni's wife) would get me so much media attention. I do not know why the camera was focussing on me so much. I know him (Gurunath) well. When I reached the box, Sakshi told me to come and sit next to her. I had met Dhoni and his wife last year during the IPL finale,“ Vindoo was quoted as saying.