Laptops,footage seized,Sreesanth in fresh trouble

Mumbai police say they too may seek custody of arrested pacer

Written by Shalini Narayan | New Delhi | Published: May 18, 2013 10:52 pm

Gathering evidence against three bowlers of the Rajasthan Royals,including India pacer S Sreesanth,and 11 others arrested for their alleged involvement in spot-fixing in Indian Premier League matches,police on Saturday recovered laptops,mobile phones and video footage. Police teams have fanned out across the country to establish the money trail,and how and where was this betting money spent.

An officer linked to the investigation said the case was still “open-ended” and teams had been sent to Ahmedabad,Kolkata,Mumbai and Hyderabad to establish the money trail.

Intercepts of phone conversations between bookies and players point to threats in the name of the underworld. The officer said “strong words were used to threaten the players”.

According to the officer,Sreesanth was paid Rs 10 lakh advance while Jiju Janardanan,fellow cricketer and friend,who was in touch with the bookies had also been paid Rs 10 lakh.

The officer claimed that Sreesanth used Jiju’s phone to speak to the bookies. Jiju had approached Sreesanth for an ad shoot and had persuaded him to agree to spot-fixing.

On Saturday,the Mumbai Crime Branch seized Sreesanth’s laptop,mobile phone and iPad. Delhi Police said they haven’t yet contacted the Mumbai Crime Branch so far and will do “whatever was required”.

In Mumbai,Joint Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy said the city crime branch too may book Sreesanth in a spot-fixing case and seek his custodial interrogation.

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 where Sreesanth stayed before his arrest.

The Mumbai crime branch had arrested three bookies — Ramesh Vyas,Pandurang Kadam and Ashok Vyas — a day before Sreesanth,Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila were arrested. Later,another bookie,Pravin Behra,was held.

Delhi Police sources said the bank accounts of the players were being checked. Police said a Rs 40-lakh deal was struck for the first of three matches in which spot-fixing was done. Of this,Rs 20 lakh was paid. In the second match too,the deal was for Rs 40 lakh. Police claimed that Sreesanth was paid Rs 10 lakh. The third deal was to the tune of Rs 60 lakh.

Police said that they have approached Set Max to obtain raw TV footage of the three matches played on May 5 (Rajasthan Royals vs Pune Warriors),May 9 (Rajasthan Royals vs Kings XI Punjab) and May 15 (Rajasthan Royals vs Mumbai Indians). Police said they need the raw footage to see what happened during the commercial breaks — CCTV cameras are positioned all over and also look at the dugout.

According to police,voice samples of phone intercepts are being sent for forensic analysis to a laboratory in Rohini,Delhi. Police sources also said that interceptions of the conversations the players had with the bookies,have hinted at threats in the name of the underworld. Police said “strong words were used to threaten the players” said the officer.

A police team landed at Chandila’s residence in Faridabad on Saturday. Police said they were also going to obtain CCTV footage from a hotel in Chandigarh — it apparently shows Chandila with a bookie on May 9.

The questioning of Amit Singh,who played for Rajasthan Royals earlier and is among the 14 arrested,has revealed that he made the players shop with his credit card. An officer claimed Chandila bought watches and jeans worth Rs 2.5 lakh. The bookies too travelled with the players and gave them expensive gifts.

With PTI from Mumbai

For all the latest News Archive News, download Indian Express App

    Live Cricket Scores & Results