In the same week that cricketer S Sreesanth was arrested for alleged involvement in spot-fixing in IPL,he was set to promote a mineral water and apparel brand based in Tirupur,Tamil Nadu. The brand,S36,was scheduled to be launched last week,but failed to take off due to Sreesanths arrest. The owner of the brand may now be questioned in connection with over 500 photographs of models found in the cricketers mail inbox.
According to Crime Branch sources,the photographs were found in Sreesanths email while the police were perusing the contents of his laptop. The sender of the photographs was identified as a casting director in Andheri. On being questioned,the casting director told the police about Sreesanths partnership with the brand,S36.
The casting director said he was contacted by Sreesanth and his partner a year ago. They asked him to send photographs of suitable models to advertise their brand S36…We have obtained the contact details of Sreesanths partner who,according to the casting director,is a film producer based in Hyderabad,and will be quizzing him as well, said a Crime Branch officer.
When contacted,Ayup Khan,the owner of S36 brand,told The Indian Express,Sreesanth had agreed to promote the brand in exchange for a 15 per cent share of the profits. We had shot photographs for the brand,and were going to launch it last week. Nearly 40,000 bottles of the mineral water are now lying in the godown with no takers.
Khan,who has produced films in Tamil Nadu,said he had taken huge loans to invest in the project. He vouched for the photographs in Sreesanths email. We were going to shoot an ad film for the mineral water brand,and needed female models. I had outsourced the job of finding the models to a business associate who seems to have contacted the casting director, he said.
The Crime Branch is probing whether the girls were being used as honeytraps or conduits in the spot-fixing racket.
We will be checking if the casting director sent similar photographs to any other cricketers. His call data records will also be analysed to verify if he has been in touch with any bookies, said an officer.
Meanwhile,a Delhi Police team met Crime Branch chief Himanshu Roy on Monday and submitted a written request for sharing of information obtained from Sreesanths room. However,the team did not seek permission to interrogate bookie Ramesh Vyas. The police are also viewing CCTV footage of the hotel to identify the people seen entering and leaving his room. The owner of the travel agency which booked Sreesanths room has also been called for questioning.