Unusual conversation did IPL spot-fixers in
Players on wrong foot: Delhi Police recorded 100 hours of phone calls
The probe began in April after an officer stumbled upon spot-fixing in the Indian Premier League while monitoring phone calls of a few terrorists linked with the Mumbai underworld.
The officer heard an unusual conversation on a Dubai phone number about signals being given by associated cricketers at grounds. “This generated interest in the officer who, after informing his seniors, began finding out as to who has to give signals and why. It also led to recording of over 100 hours of phone conversations,” said a police officer.
The police then began monitoring phone numbers linked to the tapped phone. The conversations led them to Rajasthan Royals cricketers S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan.
The first conversation was between Ajit and bookie Amit Kumar before the Rajasthan Royals’ match with Pune Warriors on May 5.
“Ajit: I will give the signal. Let the first over go. I will see.
Amit: Bowl the first over with confidence and throw the second over with same confidence for us.
Ajit: Okay, okay. I will do.
Amit: What will be your signal?
Ajit: I will pull my T-shirt up and down and will then look up before starting the over.”
Ajit, however, forgot to give the signal, but gave away 14 runs as promised. “This led to a lot of arguments and demand for return of money advanced to him. Ajit had to return the money,” said Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar.
The second conversation was between Sreesanth’s friend Jiju Janardhan and bookie Chandresh Patel before the Royals match against King’s XI Punjab match in Mohali on May 9. Sreesanth was promised Rs 40 lakh to give away 14 runs in the second over he bowled.
“Chandresh: What will be the signal?
Jiju: I have told him. He will not do anything unusual. He will tuck in a towel before bowling his second over.
Chandresh: Please advise him to give us some time before starting the over as we can start our booking.”
The third conversation was between Ajit and Ankeet before Wednesday’s match between Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians. Ajit was left out of the playing 11, but convinced Ankeet to give at least 13 runs in his second over.
“Ankeet: I am outside.
Ajit: Okay. Should I say yes?
Ankeet: Yes, but how much?
Ajit: They are saying 12.
Ankeet: No, I don’t think that’s possible. It will be too much.
Ajit: I have given them assurance. It will be done. Should I say yes?
Ankeet: Ok, say yes.
Ajit: I have told them 60 for one over.
Ankeet: Yes ok. I will move my wrist band as an indication.”
Police said in a later call, it was decided that Ankeet will give away 14 or more runs whenever he bowls his second over. One of them said they will talk about further details in BlackBerry Messenger.
Two bookies, Amit Kumar and Manan, were arrested at Mumbai’s Intercontinental Hotel, where Rajasthan Royals players were staying for Wednesday’s match.
Commissioner Kumar denied allegations by Sreesanth’s family members that M S Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh trapped him due to personal grudge.