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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Guru Meiyappan's presence in Bay of Bengal - Riviera, the yacht

Crowds throng Marina beach, especially this summer … and if you are to walk on the sands you would see many cheap kattumarams [catamarans] as also some boats… the livelihood of lots of fishermen and on the sea, you could see some cargo ships….scenic setting for a Marine enthusiast.

Days after the Finals of IPL 6 when N Srinivasan was booed by a section of the crowd, things have not changed much…. He has not been given out, nor is he a walker….. a not so media savvy, Gurunath continued to hog the limelight with channels showing live, his coming out of Mumbai airport.  Gurunath Meiyappan, a top official of the Chennai Super Kings franchise and son-in-law of the BCCI president N Srinivasan, has been formally arrested by Mumbai Police on charges of cheating, forgery and fraud. There have been statements – one after the other, on his role not in betting but on the franchisee itself. The avid golfer is in no mood to tee-off….

At a time when many is braying for his blood, Srinivasan still has his supporters. The system has never been transparent, it has always been dictatorial and has never been answerable. So why should just Srinivasan resign, everybody on the governing council should go. He has not committed any crime but rather an error of judgement,  Saad Bin Jung, former cricketer and nephew of the late Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi is quoted as saying.  Some reports suggests that he has the support of committee including that of Jagmohan Dalmiya ~ some media has it that he is inspired by  Robert Vadra, who has been accused of benefiting in financial deals due to political connections in the past, but has resulted in no major changes in the Congress.

Chennai has a fishing harbour; has iron ore / coal imports; lots of container movement; cars gets exported from here……but is no place for Yachts.  Yachts are recreational boats. The term originated from the Dutch Jacht meaning "hunt". It was originally defined as a light fast sailing vessel used by the Dutch navy to pursue pirates and other transgressors around and into the shallow waters of the Low Countries.  A double-decker yacht docked at Chennai Port since last month has been the envy of fishermen, sailors and onlookers even though two more luxury boats are berthed alongside.

photo courtesy : The Hindu
Going by the report in The Hindu, the first one outscores the others in terms of features, size and cost. The yacht is owned by Gurunath Meiyappan, who was recently arrested on IPL betting charges. That is also in news as reports suggest that a police team from Mumbai on Monday completed its search of the house of Mr. Meiyappan and his 70-foot-long yacht. Three mobile phones, two from his house and one from his yacht, reportedly were recovered. On Monday, a seven-member team from the Mumbai Crime Branch inspected the double-decker, ‘Riviera 53 Enclosed Flybridge’. A top Chennai Port official said: “We issued them entry passes. They left the place after inspecting the yacht and were not willing to divulge any details as they are probing the case from different angles.” The vessel costs about Rs. 5 crore and  further Rs. 3 crore as customs duty. It is stated that the Customs department delayed the release of the cruiser by a couple of days as the base duty was hiked from 10 to 25 per cent in the last Union budget.

According to the Hindu, the yacht was imported from Riviera’s Gold Coast factory in Australia only last month, though Mr. Meiyappan had bought it last year. Shipped from Gold Coast to Hong Kong, it was lying there for over four months owing to non-availability of a ship to take it to Chennai. A Chennai Port official told The Hindu that the cruiser, described as a growing breed of yacht with “fishability” as one of its features, was allowed to berth at an exclusive spot on a request from the Tamil Nadu Sailing Association, of which Mr. Meiyappan is an institutional member. It has been used only sparingly. “We can easily say Riviera 53 Flybridge is the only yacht present on the southern coast. Such yachts can be seen in Mumbai or Kochi. At present, there are 25 luxury boat owners in India, most of them businessmen,” an association member is quoted as stating. Riviera, in its recent newsletter, announced the yacht’s arrival in Chennai and said the owner spent a week on board for a shakedown to educate and familiarise himself with all on-board systems, before it was shipped to India.

It is not the first Riviera to reach the Indian shores but it is first in terms of size and the first game fishing boat to be berthed in Chennai. The first trip offshore was a fishing expedition 15 nautical miles off the coast, said the newsletter.

So would you consider this a Marine related post or a Cricket related one !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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