MUMBAI, INDIA - FEBRUARY 24: Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty at the special screening of 'Tanu Weds Manu' at Ketnav, Mumbai on February 24, 2011. (Photo by Yogen Shah/India Today Group/Getty Images)

Not surprisingly, Kundra couldn’t avoid being asked about his views on the IPL he used to be associated with even if he seemed adamant on only answering those about the IPL he now wants to be associated with. So when asked about the cricketing version of the IPL, the British national took the liberty of picking the tournament he wanted to talk about. “This is an ideal opportunity to put India on the global poker map,” said Kundra. “The winning team here will play as Team India at the World Cup.”

Former Owner of Rajasthan Royals Raj Kundra is back in the limelight after being abolished from Indian Premier due to his alleged involvement in corruption and this time he launched the Indian Poker League (IPL) on Tuesday. “IPL just couldn’t keep me away, so I’m back,” Raj Kundra opened up with this line. It wasn’t the first time that Kundra with his beautiful wife Shilpa Shetty played on the same acronym to introduce their project.

It became evident by afternoon that the parties involved in promoting the Poker League had one primary agenda on their priority list which was to get rid of the gambling stigma which is more often than not associated with playing cards but it is definitely ironic, to say the least that the man leading the charge was someone who had been banished by IPL (CRICKET) for his proven involvement in betting scandals.

It was almost impossible for Kundra to avoid the questions related with IPL (cricket) even though he seemed adamant on answering only those questions which were related to the new IPL (Poker).

“This is an ideal opportunity to put India on the global poker map. The winning team here will play as Team India at the World Cup,” Kundra was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.

The new venture by Kundra has been recognised by the International Federation of Poker (IFP) which has helped India secure a spot in the Nations Cup which is scheduled to be held in Oxford, England in December. An Indian team will be featuring at an IFP event after 4 years since finishing 6th in the 2013 Asian Nations Cup in China.

It will be Kundra’s 3rd venture into the world of sports with a two-day event scheduled to be held in Mumbai. His first attempt came to an abrupt when his team Rajasthan Royals was suspended from IPL and the Lodha Commission banned him from taking part in any cricketing affairs.

“As part owner having 11.7 per cent of the franchise, Kundra should have conducted himself in accordance of his stature. Betting is a crime punishable in India and it is corrupt practice against BCCI constitution. It is difficult to accept that as a UK citizen, he did not know that betting was against the law in India,” Justice RM Lodha had observed.

He is not an unknown commodity in the world of sports as he had previously tried his hand at mixed martial arts when he was still the co-owner of Rajasthan Royals.


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