The Special Cell of the Delhi Police were tapping the phones of cricketers ever since the IPL began in April,an exercise that has netted pacer S Sreesanth and two of his Rajasthan Royals colleagues Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan today.
The three,along with seven bookies,have been arrested for spot-fixing of IPL matches. Sreesanth was arrested from his friend’s place in Mumbai while the other two cricketers were arrested last night from the Trident hotel at Nariman Point for their alleged role in spot-fixing.
The arrests took place immediately after the players returned to their team hotel,following their match against Mumbai Indians at Wankhede stadium. The hosts won by 14 runs.
More arrests are likely,with 12 matches under the scanner,police sources have said. Nearly 70 phones were tapped by the special cell. The cops said Ankeet Chavan fixed the Rajasthan Royals vs Mumbai Indians match,while Sreesanth fixed the Rajasthan Royals vs Kings XI match.
Police said two bookies,identified as Jiju and one who goes by the code name Jupiter,represent Dawood Ibrahim’s D company and had met players in Gurgaon on May 6 and 7. They said Chandila was sent by Sreesanth to Sahara Mall in Gurgaon to meet the bookies who operated in Gujarat,as the front runners for D company. The meeting lasted about 45 ,minutes. Cops have evidence of it.
Police said Sreesanth communicated with bookies through Whatapp and Blackberry Messenger and was not in direct touch with them over phone. He had reportedly roped in Chandila and Chavan in the fixing. Police said the money trail was routed through Dubai and about 30 calls were routed through Pakistan.
Sources said about Rs 25 lakh was paid to each player,while part payment was in cash,the rest was to be paid in dollars. Police said the Rajasthan Royals’ team management will be called later to be questioned on whether they were aware of any of this
Delhi police sources also said these players were under the scanner for their role in spot-fixing in some of the earlier IPL match although they did not elaborate which matches were under scrutiny.
The police are looking for two more bookies in Delhi.
The development comes as a shock for the IPL authorities who have time and again grappled with controversies and scandals ever since the league was launched in 2008.
IPL Chairman Rajiv Shukla said he was awaiting details on the incident.
Rajasthan Royals CEO Raghu Iyer said that the three players were picked up by Delhi police last night and the team management was co-operating with the investigation.
“Rajasthan Royals has zero tolerance for corruption and we will take action,if charges are proved,” he said. Rajasthan Royals also issued a statement in which they said that they are shocked by the development.
“We have been informed that three of our players have been called in for investigation on spot fixing in matches. We are completely taken by surprise. We do not have the full facts at this point and are unable to confirm anything.
“We are in touch with the BCCI on this matter. We will fully cooperate with the authorities to ensure a thorough investigation. The management at Rajasthan Royals has a zero-tolerance approach to anything that is against the spirit of the game,” the statement said. (With PTI inputs)