Cricket: Royals owner suspended over fixing scandal

NEW DELHI (AFP) - The co-owner of Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket team Rajasthan Royals, who are at the heart of a betting and spot-fixing scandal, has been suspended from the game pending an inquiry, a top Indian official said on Monday.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) called an emergency meeting at a luxury hotel in New Delhi on Monday to discuss the Rajasthan Royals and their co-owner Raj Kundra.

Kundra, the businessman husband of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, has admitted to illegal betting on his team, according to police investigating a deepening scandal that has rocked the game.

"Raj Kundra has been suspended from all cricketing activities pending an inquiry," a senior BCCI man told reporters, as he left the meeting on condition of anonymity.

Three Royals players have been arrested over allegations of spot-fixing and betting during the recently completed edition of the IPL, including Test fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth.

The BCCI official said that a report on the players by the board's anti-corruption unit was submitted in a sealed envelope at the meeting and would be sent to a separate disciplinary committee.

According to an agreement between the BCCI and IPL sides, if any franchise group or owner acts in a way which has a "material adverse effect" on the reputation of the BCCI or the league, then their agreement will be terminated.

The Royals, who won the inaugural IPL edition in 2008 under Australian spin legend Shane Warne, have already been thrown out of the IPL before because of ownership problems.

Kundra owns 11.7 per cent of the franchise.