FORMER RAJASTHAN Royals player Ajit Chandila, who was banned on Monday for life by the BCCI for his role in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal, features prominently in the Delhi Police Special Cell’s 6,000-page chargesheet on the case.
Although the courts found Delhi Police’s evidence linking the three arrested RR players — Chandila, S Sreesanth and Ankit Chavan — to crime syndicates abroad insufficient, the chargesheet contains transcripts of several telephone conversations taped during the investigation in which Chandila is heard conversing with alleged bookies and other players.
According to the transcripts, in a May 15, 2013 conversation (3.41 pm), Chandila tells Chavan to turn the sweat band around the wrist as the signal to confirm the fix saying, “60 bol diya meine usko, done ho gaya hai (I have confirmed the deal for 60)”. In another call, taped before the start of IPL, an alleged bookie, Sunil Bhatia, offers Chandila “30 peti (30 lakh)” for “ek over mein kaam karake do (to fix one over).”
The Delhi Police tapes also has Bhatia talking to another alleged bookie before a RR game. With the start of the game hours away, Tinku Mandi, an alleged bookie, and Bhatia go through several possible signals before reaching a consensus that “kissing of Hanuman locket” by the bowler would mean the fix was on.
According to the BCCI release on Monday, Chandila was “held guilty of misconduct and corruption”. He had breached seven clauses of Article 2 of the BCCI’s anti-corruption code relating to corruption and betting.
Chandila’s conversation with Chavan clearly hints that the RR team mates were violating Clause 2.2.2 that stops players from “soliciting, inducing, enticing, instructing, persuading, encouraging, facilitating or authorising any other party to enter into a bet”.
Chandila, who didn’t play the infamous game between RR and MI of 2013, tells Chavan, that as a part of the deal, he needs to concede 12 or more runs in the over that should start with the pre-decided ‘sweat band’ signal.
The website Espncricinfo’s commentary of the game that day says Chavan starts with a “short and slow” ball that Mumbai Indians’ Glenn Maxwell “rocks back and smashes it over mid-wicket for a six”. Chavan goes on to concede 15 runs.
At 8.19 pm, just after that Chavan over, Chandila makes a call to someone who the chargesheet identifies as a bookie. “Khush ho gaye sethji (You happy?),” he says. “Hain, khush, khush, khush (Yes, happy, happy, happy).”
But the chargesheet shows, not every fix has a happy ending. One of the tapes has a couple of bookies, as identified by the chargesheet, wanting a meeting with Chandila. They speak like old associates, referring to each other as ‘bhai’, their tone betraying their closeness.
Early in the call, the alleged bookie offers Chandila “30 peti (30 lakh)”. Chandila expresses his helplessness saying that he isn’t part of the playing XI and isn’t expected to get a game this season. That’s when tempers flare. The bookie challenges Chandila, saying he doesn’t have it in him to spot-fix. “Mere ko Saibaba ki kasam hai aap zindagi main, kabhi kaam nahi kar sakte. Main tumhare ghar main jaado marke jaonga jis din aap kaam karoge (You will never be able to fix, I will sweep your house the day you fix a game),” says the bookies.
Chandila explains that he didn’t get enough chances to do what the bookie wanted. This makes the bookie angry. “Ajitbhai main tumhare saath IPL ke baad aisa kaam karjaonga ki tum life main kabhi kisi ke saath galat nahi karoge (After the IPL I will do something to you, after that you wouldn’t betray anyone),” he says before passing the phone to his associate.
Another pattern emerging from the case is of bookies employing former players to get access to IPL stars. Amit Singh, once a regular with Rajasthan Royals, can be heard speaking to Chandila and to Sreesanth’s close friend Jiju Janardan, another club player.
A conversation between two alleged bookies gives insight into the intricate details of the signals used to confirm a fix. Sunil Bhatia, who had been in touch with Chandila, speaks to Tinku Mandi to discuss the nitty-gritty of an apparent fix. There is a long deliberation about the signal the compromised players were to give at the start of their overs, confirming their commitment to the syndicate of giving pre-decided number of runs. With the start of the game hours away, Mandi and Bhatia go through several possible signals.
TM: Chasma daal ke bowling karado (Should I ask them to wear sunglasses?).
SB: Chasma daal ke bowling karado .. agar woh nahi kara tu yeh bolon ki apna right side pe watch pehne (Bowling with sunglasses .. if that doesn’t work, ask them to wear a watch on the right hand)
The conversation ends with the bookies deciding on the player kissing Hanuman locket.
TM: Suno chain hai inke gaale main .. thik hai (Are they wearing a chain around their necks?)
SB: Haan Haan … chain uske gaale main hai …(Yes, they are)
SB: Hanuman ji ka locket hai .. kya karna hai bolo …(Hanuman locket is there, what to do?)
TM: Dono ko locket choomne ke liye bol do … (Ask both to kiss the locket.)