Three more persons — a former Ranji player and two bookies — were arrested from Aurangabad in connection with the IPL spot-fixing case early today even as more details tumbled out of the investigations,giving rise to suspicion that players of other teams may be involved.
A current Ranji player is also to be arrested in the case that rocked the cricketing world,Delhi Police said as the role of more fringe and former players acting as middle-men between bookies and current players was being probed.
Different sets of bookies were also involved in spot-fixing in this edition of the cash-rich Indian Premier League and police suspect that some matches in the previous edition were also spot-fixed.
Police sources said Ajit Chandila,who was arrested along with Sreesanth and Ankit Chavan last Thursday,was in touch with “four sets of bookies” and was “willing to be available for fixing matches”.
Though they did not confirm the role of players in other teams as they have “no definite proof”,investigators did not rule out the possibility and said probe was “still on and open-ended”.
With today’s arrest,a total of 17 people — three IPL players,two former players and 12 bookies-cum-fixers — were arrested in connection with this case.
In early morning raids,Delhi Police arrested Manish Guddewar (32),a former Ranji player of Vidarbha,and bookies Sunil Bhatia (44) and Kiran Dole (42),all residents of Nagpur,from Aurangabad at around 5 am.
“Guddewar used to be a neigbhour of Chandila before 2000 and used to practice cricket together. He played Ranji between 2003-2005. He helped Dole and Bhatia meet Chandila to fix matches,” a senior police official said.
Baburao Yadav,a Ranji player for Railways,is also allegedly involved in the spot-fixing and he is yet to be arrested,the official said.
“One should note the role of existing or former players in the fixing. We have Amit Singh,Jiju Janardhan and Guddewar already in the net. Yadav will also be arrested,” the official said.
The arrested trio were linked to Ashwani Aggarwal,who is already in the custody of police. They had meetings in Mumbai,Delhi,Gurgaon and Chandigarh.
Delhi Police also asked hotels in Mumbai,Chandigarh,Kolkata and Hyderabad to provide CCTV footage to scan meetings of the three arrested cricketers with bookies in connection with the IPL spot-fixing scandal.
Police is also planning to seek permission for collecting voice samples of Sreesanth,Chandila and Chavan arrested last Thursday from Mumbai along with 11 bookies.
Sources also said Sreesanth claimed that he has high political connections and asked the police to speak to the Chief Minister of Kerala or Maharashtra before placing him under arrest.
They said he was with a woman companion in a car near Carter Road when an Inspector of Delhi Police overtook the vehicle and stopped it. The Inspector showed him his identity card.
Initially the Kerala pacer resisted arrest but was taken into the police car.
Sources said Sreesanth argued with the police personnel and threw his weight around,saying the Chief Ministers of Kerala and Maharashtra knew him personally.
He even gave his mobile phone to the police officer asking him to call either of the chief ministers.
The investigators said the 19-member team was told not to disclose the reason for arrest to any of the accused.
As per the FIR lodged with the Special Cell of Delhi Police,a case of cheating and criminal conspiracy was registered on the complaint filed by Inspector Badrish Dutt,who died under mysterious circumstances a day after filing it.
Dutt,an expert in intercepting calls,had tapped over 100 hours of telephonic conversations that led to unravelling of the scandal,the sources said.
In the FIR registered on May 9,no player or bookie was named.
“Match fixers and bookies from Delhi,Maharashtra,Gujarat,Punjab etc and some players participating in this Indian Premier League tournament have joined together to indulge in spot and match-fixing,” it said.
The FIR said that the Special Cell received information in the “third week of April that certain members of the underworld” were involved in “some sort of fixing” in the ongoing IPL with active participation of some unidentified conduits based in Delhi.
“It was also revealed that these conduits are contacting cricket players who have been recently engaged by IPL sponsors at a very high price for their respective teams with a view to stage managing some matches for making windfall gains through several bookies,who facilitate illegal gambling in the sport.
“It had also been informed that players who will be ‘fixed’ will be paid huge amounts to under-perform during decided bowling overs/spells,” the FIR said.
The FIR also noted that for these overs,huge amounts of money would be put on stake by the bookies.
“Such acts will amount in cheating innocent and sports-loving people of their hard earned money used in purchasing tickets. Large number of people watch the matches; not only in stadia,purchasing costly tickets,but also across the globe through televisions and internet expecting that there would be a fair play.
The FIR also said the bookies and players decide before a match as to which portion of it will be ‘fixed’.
“Pre-decided signals will be given by the players to the bookies that will clearly be visible in the stadium or on the television for initiating heavy betting.
“In this process,the ‘fixed’ player would get a huge amount as illegal gratification over and above his contractual value already committed to him by his franchisee,” it said.
The Enforcement Directorate is also likely to begin a money laundering probe into the recent allegations of spot-fixing in the ongoing IPL tournament.
The action under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) would be done after going through the FIRs filed by both Delhi and Mumbai police recently,ED sources said.
Ten people were also arrested in three cases for running betting rackets in Ujjain and Muzaffarnagar during the current IPL matches.