Claiming a “big catch” as they uncover spot-fixing in the Indian Premier League,Delhi Police on Friday arrested a 45-year-old man from Hyderabad airport as he prepared to board a Dubai-bound flight.
Mohammed Yahya alias Yusuf had approached members of more than one team,including Rajasthan Royals,for spot-fixing,police claimed,saying he played the role of a facilitator,mediator between cricketers and bookies. Police said Yahya was “the link to next set of players” under the scanner.
He was nabbed as he prepared to leave Hyderabad for Dubai. Police sources said Yahya had cleared security and immigration and was about to board the flight to Dubai when investigators closed in on him. Sources said he was immediately photographed and these were mailed to Delhi where officers showed them to arrested bookie Chandresh Patel. It was Patel who had given police the first leads on Yahya.
Yahya was flown to Delhi soon after his arrest. Police had questioned three persons from Hyderabad on their links to the betting racket,including a film financier,before arresting Yahya who lives in Mumbai. A betting racket busted by Hyderabad Police earlier this week apparently provided some leads about Yahya.
According to police,Yahya fled Mumbai and had been hiding in Hyderabad. It is alleged that he is a ringleader of bookies and reports to an international betting ring operating out of Dubai.
A police source said Chandresh Patel took Yahyas help to contact players. Patel and other bookies contacted Ajit Chandila of Rajasthan Royals for spot-fixing. Police claimed Chandila told them that bookies Manan and Amit Singh had taken him shopping where Manan used Chandreshs debit card to purchase two pairs of jeans and accessories for Chandila.
Yahya hails from Hyderabad and lives in Mumbai. According to police,Yahya started his career in Bollywood in 1984 as a spot boy where he worked until 2010. He was a fan of Dilip Kumar and began to use the actors real name as his alias,police claimed.
It was Patels questioning that led police to Yahya. Patel referred to Yahya as Yusuf and claimed he didnt know his real name. Police looked up the phone intercepts as well. Patel described Yahya as a man with a big build,fair and middle-aged. With this description and a few phone numbers which had been placed under surveillance,police tracked down Yahya to the Hyderabad airport.
Police sources said Yahya had switched off his phones,changed a few numbers but had left one phone operational.
By Shalini Narayan,Prawesh Lama & Sreenivas Janyala