THE probe into the IPL spot-fixing scandal reached the doorstep of BCCI president N Srinivasans family Thursday as the Mumbai Police Crime Branch summoned his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan,who is also the head of the Chennai Super Kings team,to its headquarters in Mumbai Friday for questioning.
Meiyappan has,however,sought time until 11 am on Monday to present himself.
Meiyappans name allegedly figures in the list of calls made by Vindoo Randhawa,the actor-son of the late wrestler-turned-actor Dara Singh who is now in custody for his suspected role in the betting-fixing network. Crime Branch officers said Vindoo was also an active bookie who went by the nickname Jack,and his call records revealed that he was in frequent touch with Meiyappan.
Investigators want to probe if Vindoo had gained access to any inside information or to players with the help of Meiyappan,they said.
A team of three Crime Branch inspectors led by a deputy commissioner of police,camping in Chennai since Wednesday evening,could not meet Meiyappan Thursday and served the summons at his house in Alwarpet and at the CSK office.
We have served summons for Meiyappan to come to the Crime Branch between 11 am and 5 pm on Friday for questioning. Under section 160 of the CrPC,in the absence of the concerned person,the summons should be served to the seniormost male member in the house,and if nobody is there,then it should be affixed to the door, said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy.
We have affixed one summons on the door of Meiyappans residence. A second summons was served at the CSK office to a manager who accepted it. Legally the summons has now been served, he said. The Crime Branch team was ready to question Meiyappan in Chennai but since he was unavailable,the summons were served,he added.
We need to verify certain issues raised and claims made by Vindoo Dara Singh during his interrogation. It may be necessary to confront Meiyappan with Vindoo to verify whether there is any truth in the latters claims. It is obvious that if Vindoo was merely socialising with him,we would not have summoned Meiyappan, Roy said.
A Crime Branch officer said that Vindoo had been in touch with Meiyappan for a few years now. He claims he had been suffering losses in IPL betting for the first five seasons,and that it was only this season that he had been winning. We need to find out what changed this season, the officer said.
Meanwhile,the Crime Branch has received the mirror image of arrested bowler S Sreesanths laptop,seized from a hotel in Mumbai,from forensic experts. The contents are now being scrutinised by the police.
Roy rejected claims that the Mumbai Police Crime Branch was reluctant to share evidence such as the laptops,phones and data cards seized from the hotel with the Delhi Police Special Cell. The seized items are the property of the court,and the Crime Branch is merely the custodian. If the Delhi Police want these articles,they need to approach the court. If we are asked by the court for our say in the matter,we will not raise any opposition, said Roy.
Talking about Vindoos interrogation,Roy said that Vindoo himself remarked it was fortunate that his father Dara Singh was no longer there to see what had transpired.
Later on Thursday,the BCCIs manager for game development Ratnakar Shetty and IPL CEO Sundar Raman met Roy to request the Mumbai Police to help with whatever evidence it has in the spot-fixing case. The meeting follows a direction by the Supreme Court Tuesday to the BCCI to take action within 15 days in the light of the spot-fixing scandal.
The BCCIs anti-corruption unit chief Ravi Sawani has given a similar request to the Delhi Police. The Indian board also assured Roy that it would fully cooperate with the police probe and share TV footage and any other details. However,the Mumbai Police said that it can share evidence only after a case is registered,indicating that the BCCI would have to wait.
While promising full cooperation we have asked Mumbai Police to provide us help in our internal enquiry, Shetty said.
– with inputs from ENS,Chennai