In fresh trouble for pacer Sreesanth,Mumbai police’s crime branch may book him in a spot fixing case registered by it and seek his custodial interrogation,Joint Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy said today.
Roy said permission of a competent court has been secured for obtaining “mirror images” of a laptop computer,an ipad and mobile phone seized from a room in a 5 star hotel in Bandra yesterday which the cricketer occupied before his arrest on Wednesday night.
The crime branch had arrested three bookies– Ramesh Vyas (52),Pandurang Kadam (41) and Ashok Vyas (32)–a day before Sreesanth and two other members of IPL team Rajasthan Royals were arrested in connection with the spot fixing scandal. Later another bookie Pravin Behra was held Bhandup.
92 mobile phones,out of which 32 were exclusively used to enable Indian punters get in touch with bookies in Dubai and Pakistan through teleconferencing,18 SIM cards,a television set and a laptop had been seized from the trio,he said. Read: Mumbai underworld involved in spot-fixing,mastermind overseas: Delhi Police
The four bookies were booked under IPC sections 465 (Punishment for forgery),471 (Using as genuine a forged document),420 (cheating) and relevant sections of Prevention of Gambling Act and Information Technology Act.
“We are going deep into the investigation and Sreesanth might be booked in our case also here,” Roy said.
Crime Branch sleuths had yesterday searched the rooms occupied by Sreesanth and Jiju Janardan,his close friend and bookie arrested by the Special Cell of Delhi police in connection with the spot-fixing scandal.
Apart from electronic devices,cash,data card and diaries with entries in English and Malyalam,which appeared to be in Sreesanth’s handwriting,were also seized.
The search of Jiju’s room yielded an ipad,a mobile phone and some other belongings,Roy said,adding all these were being analysed with a “fine toothcomb” during the investigation.
The officer said Sreesanth had “independently” booked a room for himself through Tamarind Tours and Travels as other members of his IPL team Rajasthan Royals team was not staying there. Read: “Cricketer-bookie Amit may have used Jiju to reach Sree”
“We are also in the process of obtaining CCTV footage from the hotel to ascertain who visited the cricketer since he checked in late on May 13 night. We are recreating events since then till 15th may when he was arrested,” he said.
Asked if there was any evidence of a “honey trap” being laid to entice the cricketer into spot-fixing as being reported in the media,Roy said it was premature to say anything about that.
When asked if some Bollywood personalities too had visited Sreesanth in his hotel room,he said only an analysis of CCTV footage would help the investigators identify the visitors.
Roy said the interrogation of Vyas and examination of accounts books revealed that some of the bookies also figured in the case being probed by the Delhi Police.
“Vyas not only made calls to those bookies wanted by the Delhi police but also their names appeared in his account books. There were some financial transactions among the bookies” the crime branch chief said.
Meanwhile,one more bookie Pankaj Shah who was in touch with Vyas was held from suburban Mulund today.
While Vyas was remanded in police custody till May 20,the other four bookies,including Shah,were remanded in police custody till May 22.
The Special Cell of Delhi police had arrested Sreesanth and his Rajasthan Royals teammates — Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan — from Mumbai on the night of May 15 for indulging in spot-fixing in at least three IPL matches as per arrangements with bookies with underworld connections abroad. Read: Delhi Police to trace money trail in four cities
The players have been suspended by the BCCI and charged under section 420 (cheating) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.