Three cricketers were arrested, charged and implicated in the IPL spot-fixing scandal in 2013 that rocked the sport. S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan were arrested by the Delhi Police in a midnight raid on charges of spot-fixing. With Chandila and Chavan already serving their bans, S Sreesanth kept the legal battle going and on Friday (March 15), had his lifetime ban lifted by the Supreme Court. The apex court ordered the BCCI to rethink the quantum of punishment.
In 2013, Sreesanth was arrested from his friend’s house and Chandila, Chavan were detained from the team hotel in Mumbai. Following this, BCCI set up its own inquiry commission and decided to ban the trio from playing the sport.
On the field: codes to place bets
Delhi Police alleged there were signals in gestures and acts on the field by players that would alert the bookies to place bets as agreed. On May 9, during a match between the Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals played in Mohali, pacer S Sreesanth ran up to bowl an over with a towel tucked into the band of his trousers.
The police said this was a signal to bookies that he would now fix an over. He had bowled the previous over without the towel.
The deal, the Delhi Police alleged, was that Sreesanth would tuck the towel to indicate spot-fixing and give the bookies time to place as many bets as possible. On the field, Sreesanth gave away more than 14 runs, something he had reportedly decided with bookies.
In a separate match, on May 5, when Royals played the now-defunct Pune Warriors in Jaipur, the police alleged that Chandila was paid an advance of Rs 20 lakh by bookies to fix an over. In an alleged phone conversation between the player and a bookie, a voice said to be Chandila’s is heard saying that he would untuck his two T-shirts to indicate he was beginning an over that was fixed.
In one over Chandila gave away 14 runs, the police alleged, but forgot to untuck his shirts. The police claimed that this resulted in an argument after the match, in which the bookie demanded his money back.
Chavan, the third Royals player arrested, was promised Rs. 60 lakh to give away 13 runs in an over, the police alleged.
How it affected the game’s administration
The case sparked a domino effect and after a widespread manhunt, actor Vindoo Dara Singh was arrested in connection with illegal betting. It was the actor’s arrest that led to the arrest of Gurunath Meiyappan, part of the top brass of the Chennai Super Kings team. Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra was another name that featured prominently. Following the controversy, IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla resigned and then BCCI chief N Srinivasan also temporarily gave up his duties.
In the same year, Sreesanth, Chandila, Meiyappan and Vindoo managed to secure bail. The BCCI’s inquiry commission found no evidence against Meiyappan and Kundra. In an interesting turn of events, the Bombay High Court quashed the reports submitted by the commission.
In 2015, the apex court barred N Srinivasan from contesting for any post in BCCI. A trial court dropped the charges against Sreesanth, Chandila, and Chavan in the spot-fixing case.