Indian media: More trouble for IPL

Raj Kundra, the owner of the Rajastan Royals team, is married to Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty
Image caption Raj Kundra, the owner of the Rajastan Royals team, is married to Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty

Indian newspapers are giving front-page coverage to police questioning a team owner over betting allegations in the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament.

The Delhi police has questioned UK national Raj Kundra, owner of the Rajasthan Royals team, for several hours and seized his passport, reports say.

"Mr Kundra has admitted to betting. He used to bet on his own team. We have also come to know that he lost a lot of money in betting," the Deccan Herald quotes Delhi police commissioner Neeraj Kumar as saying.

Mr Kundra, who is married to Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty, is likely to be called again for questioning, the CNN-IBN website reports.

Last month, three players from the Rajasthan Royals team - S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan - were arrested over allegations of spot-fixing in the IPL. All three have claimed innocence.

The Times of India feels that the latest revelations pose a threat to the existence of the Rajasthan Royals team.

"While betting/gambling is a minor offence in the Indian criminal law, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) rules are pretty harsh. If an owner is caught betting, his team franchise can be terminated. So, the Rajasthan Royals runs the risk of being scrapped as Mr Kundra is one of its owners," the paper says.

The Hindustan Times also believes that the "Royals are in elimination zone" because the BCCI's rules are "very stringent" on betting.

Mr Kundra, however, took to Twitter to refute the allegations. "Will make a formal statement soon. Rest assured I am not involved in any wrongdoings. Do not misconstrue silence for guilt. Truth will prevail," he tweeted.

By-elections analysis

Newspapers are also discussing the potential implications of Thursday's by-poll results on the general elections due next year.

The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won all six seats in the western state of Gujarat and declared that it was on the way to victory in the general elections, reports said.

But most newspapers think otherwise. The Asian Age, in its editorial, says the results are fragmented and "do not serve a strong analytical purpose".

The Tribune too agrees that "a few elections here and there cannot predict a trend in a large and diverse country like India".

Meanwhile, The Indian Express, in an editorial, praises the government for contemplating a new Transplantation of Human Organs Act, aimed at curbing the illegal trade in human organs.

But, it also warns that the government's new guidelines should "ease" organ donation instead of adding "layers of procedure".

Staying with health issues, an 11-month-old boy in Maharashtra has been diagnosed with what is called vaccine-derived polio virus.

Experts say this rare condition occurs when the virus in the vaccine mutates to cause paralysis. This is the first such case in the state and only the third reported in India since March 2012, The Times of India reports.

The paper, however, adds that the discovery does not threaten the polio-free status that India was recently awarded.

Moving on to Rajasthan state, the government there used a missing Pakistani girl's photograph for two years to promote a scheme to protect the girl child, reports The Indian Express.

The state government has now ordered an inquiry after it was revealed that the picture was taken from the internet without any verification, the paper adds.

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