The Delhi Police Thursday arrested three bowlers of IPL team Rajasthan Royals,including India pacer S Sreesanth,and 11 bookies and claimed they had busted a major spot-fixing racket in the T20 tournament in which the bowlers allegedly conceded a minimum number of runs in a pre-decided over in exchange for money.
Haryana Off-spinner Ajit Chandila and Mumbai left-arm spinner Ankeet Chavan are the other two bowlers who were arrested with Sreesanth in Mumbai after Wednesdays match between Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians. They were brought to the capital later on Thursday and all 14 were remanded in police custody for five days.
Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar told a press conference that the special cell had been working on the case for the past few weeks and was intercepting phone calls of the bookies and the cricketers. A team of special cell officers reached Mumbai and nabbed the three cricketers and the bookies after the match which RR lost to MI.
Sreesanth was arrested from his friends house on Carter Road,Chandila from outside Hotel Intercontinental and Chavan was picked up from his room in Hotel Trident.
Three Delhi-based bookies who were allegedly in touch with the players and the other bookies were arrested from Delhi. The police said that the bookies were from Rajouri Garden,Rohini and Gurgaon. A case of cheating and criminal conspiracy has been registered at the Lodhi Colony special cell police station.
The BCCI suspended the three players from the IPL and referred the matter to its disciplinary committee for further action.
BCCI President N Srinivasan said a few bad eggs would not be allowed to sully the game and the punishment handed down to them would be sufficient deterrent for others.
I dont know about others but I am shocked,the BCCI never expected it. It was a bolt from the blue. We will see whatever is there to be done is done. The sport is clean,we are running it clean and one or two bad eggs cannot sully the game, Srinivasan told reporters.
Police sources said that the FIR in the case was registered on May 9. Secret information was received in the third week of April 2013 about certain members of the underworld fixing matches with unidentified conduits based in Delhi. The conduits have been contacting certain cricket players on high prices for making gains, the FIR said.
The illegal gambling in the sport referred to the players taking or fixing matches for pre-decided bowling spells. Such act amounts to cheating as cricket lovers purchase tickers believing it to be a fair game and are in the process getting robbed, it said.
The Delhi police commissioner said the police had been monitoring suspected links between the bookies and the Mumbai underworld. He indicated that the bookies had been contacted by underworld members based outside India and alleged that the three players indulged in spot-fixing on three occasions.
The first was on May 5 when Chandila was asked to give 14 runs in his second spell. According to transcripts of taped conversations between Chandila and a bookie,Chandila was to give a signal by pretending to remove his jersey and then ruffle his jersey after which he would bowl loose deliveries and give away more than 14 runs.
On May 5,(in the match) between Pune Warriors and Rajasthan Royals,Chandila bowled the loose deliveries but forgot to give the signal. The bookies did not place their bets on that occasion. They had already paid him Rs 20 lakh as the first installment of the Rs 40 lakh which was decided between them. We have a recorded conversation of the bookie and the player having an argument over returning the money, said DCP (Special Cell) Sanjeev Yadav.
The second instance allegedly happened in the match against Kings XI Punjab on May 9. In this match,Sreesanth had allegedly promised to bowl loose deliveries and give away runs in his second over. According to the transcripts of the recorded conversation between Sreesanth and a bookie,Sreesanth had agreed to tuck a white towel on his right hip before the second over as a signal to the bookies to place bets.
Not only that,Sreesanth also told the bookies that he would waste time in stretching and warm-ups so that the bookies can place more bets. The video evidence available with us clearly shows that Sreesanth tucked a white towel on his hip before the second over,and as promised,gave away 13 runs. The transcript is available with us, Kumar said.
Police said the final spot-fixing incident took place in Wednesdays match between Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians. They said that although Chandila was not playing,he had allegedly struck a deal with a bookie as part of which Chavan was asked to give away runs. As discussed on the phone,Chavan gave away only two runs in his first over but was hit for 14 in his second spell,the police said. They also claimed they had intercepted a conversation in which Chandila is allegedly asking the bookie to hand over a payment of Rs 60 lakh to him and that he would deliver it to Chavan.
Police said more bookies would be arrested in the case.