It seems it wasn’t just money up to Rs 60 lakh for bowling a crooked over that was on offer to the Royals players. The transcripts of phone conversations taped by the police allegedly contain evidence to suggest that the arrested bookies also supplied at least two of the cricketers with women. Related: Sreesanth,Chandila,Chavan caught fixing,IPL in a spot
The conversations reveal that two bookies,Manan and Chand,arranged women for Sreesanth and Ajit Chandila on at least three occasions,top Delhi Police officers said. The conversations have many references to the times of despatch and arrival of the women,the officers said. Related: Asking rate: 60 lakh for 14 an over
A third player,also of the Rajasthan Royals,too accepted the services of escorts provided by the bookies,the transcripts reveal. But this player was apparently not involved in spot-fixing. Biju alias Jiju,the alleged go-between who has been described as a friend of Sreesanths,too apparently availed of the escorts services. One bookie was Rajasthan Royals pacer until last year
Both Sreesanth and Biju had women with them when they were picked up by the police in Mumbais Khar area in the early hours of Thursday. The two men had allegedly visited the RGs nightclub,and were in separate cars.
Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar,who made no reference to this part of their investigations in his press conference,confirmed to The Indian Express: Yes,such facts of bookies also providing women to two of the arrested players do figure in the transcripts. But we are not pressing any charges on the women in question since they are not connected with spot-fixing.
Kumars press conference also had references to the kingpin of the racket. Top Delhi Police sources said this suspect was called Salmaan, and he was based in Dubai. The police got their first leads in the spot-fixing case after intercepting this individuals telephone conversations,the sources said.
Police had asked the home ministry in March for permission to tap this mans phone. Sources said Salmaan may or may not be his real name,but confirmed that this individual figured in their database of persons indulging in anti-national activity,and who have connections with the underworld in Dubai and Mumbai.
It was some time in April that investigators picked up conversations between Salmaan and several bookies which clearly indicated that some matches of the forthcoming IPL season would be fixed,sources said. As the circle of suspects widened,the police sought a second round of permissions from the home ministry.
After Wednesdays match between the Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians ended in Mumbai,the Delhi Police took the unprededented step of informing both the home ministry and IPL organisers of the coming swoop. It was,however,not clear if they were also told who the specific targets of the action would be.