Match India Poker League (IPL) was launched last year to promote poker throughout India and help in the campaign towards getting poker legalized throughout India. The image of the IPL has now been tarnished after accusations were made against businessman Raj Kundra – who owns the IPL.
The accusations were made by the owner of the Goa King’s – which was one of the teams that took part during the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2017. Sachiin Joshi is an Indian actor and owner of the Goa King’s accused Raj Kundra of rigging the IPL to determine the ultimate winner. The 2017 IPL was won by Team Mumbai All Stars.
Kundra First Accused Joshi Of Failing To Make Payment
Raj Kundra who is the husband of actress Shilpa Shetty claimed that Joshi was a friend of his and was supposed to pay him $60,000 which was outstanding as part of a payment due towards the purchase of the Goa King’s franchise. Kundra said that Joshi enjoyed the publicity he received during the IPL but did not pay the outstanding amount despite repeated calls and messages.
Kundra decided to call Joshi out in public, cut his ties to the IPL and file a lawsuit against him. The move did not go down well with Joshi who claims that there was no binding agreement made between the two to prove that he owes $60,000.
Joshi Files Lawsuit Alleging IPL Fixing
Joshi decided to fight back by filing a lawsuit of his own claiming that Kundra fixed the Match IPL and determined the outcome of the eventual winner. The claims are damaging for both Kundra and the game of poker in India.
In a statement, Manoj Asrani, Group CMO of Joshi’s firm Viiking Ventures said “Raj Kundra initiated a poker tournament by the name of Match IPL and around 10 teams were formed. When we got to know that the tournament was rigged for a specific team to win, we withdrew our participation and did not sign any agreement. We made sure that the payments don’t clear as there was nothing to pay for and also informed other partners that we are out of this fraudulent tournament. We are pursuing this legally and will make sure that this goes through the right justice channels.”
Raj Kundra Guilty Of Rigging On Previous Occasions
Prior to launching Match IPL, Raj Kundra and his wife Shilpa Shetty owned a cricket team franchise in India known as the Rajasthan Royals which played in the popular Indian Premier League (IPL).
The Rajasthan Royals was one of the two teams accused a few years ago of match fixing and spot fixing – those charges were levelled at the owners, one of whom was Raj Kundra. The case was tried in court and the authorities decided to suspend the Rajasthan Royals franchise from taking part in the IPL during the 2016 and 2017 editions. The Royals are set to return to the IPL in 2018 and these new allegations against Kundra do not come at the right time.
Credibility And Reputation Of Match IPL Now Questioned?
The question that the poker community in India want answered is whether there is any truth to Joshi’s allegations or if he is taking advantage of Kundra’s past conviction of match fixing and tarnishing his image. We will have to wait for a verdict for the truth to be known.
However these allegations will hurt the credibility and reputation of Match IPL as the tournament organizers had plans to hold another edition in 2018. These allegations will not only hurt Match IPL but could also tarnish the image of poker in India.
Poker enthusiasts are trying very hard to convince legislators that poker is a game of skill and should not be viewed as gambling. However when allegations pertaining to fixing get thrown at poker tournament organizers as prominent as Raj Kundra, legislators will think twice about lifting the ban on poker in India.
Alex Dreyfus, the CEO of Mediarex Entertainment and Sports – the company which launched the first Global Poker League echoed similar views. Dreyfus said the game of poker did not need this negative publicity as it spoils the beauty of playing poker and having fun.

TightPoker Staff

TightPoker Staff

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