IPL shame: Sreesanth, 13 more held
Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said the masterminds of the fixing are abroad and more arrests will take place as the investigation unfolds. He said raids are still being conducted in Kolkata, Mumbai, Punjab, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and Delhi.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has placed the three players under suspension and warned of strict action if they are found guilty. It has promised full cooperation in the investigation.
The IPL governing council, too, said the cricketers will be dealt with severely.
“Sreesanth was arrested on Carter Road in Mumbai, Ajit outside the Intercontinental Hotel at Churchgate in Mumbai and Ankeet at the Trident Hotel at Nariman Point in Mumbai. Of the 11 bookies and conduits, three were arrested in Mumbai, four in Gurgaon and three in Delhi after police conducted raids on Thursday morning,” Neeraj Kumar said.
The cricketers were flown on a Mumbai-Delhi flight by the police and produced in a city court along with those arrested in Delhi and Gurgaon.
The court sent Sreesanth, Ankeet and Ajit, and the others in police custody for five days. They are lodged at the Lodhi Colony special cell office and are being interrogated. The police also said they will try to book all of them under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.
The bookies are identified as Jiju Janardhan, Chandresh Patel, Amit Kumar, Manan, Deepak Kumar, and Rakesh. The identities of a few other bookies have been withheld in the interests of further investigation. The underworld link has also been confirmed, Kumar said.
The Delhi Police special cell stumbled upon a match-fixing racket in April while monitoring activities of some terrorists, based in Pakistan and Mumbai and linked with the Mumbai underworld.
The police then registered a case under Sections 420 (cheating) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code with the special cell police station on May 9.
During investigation, it was found that a group of bookies was in touch with various groups of match-fixers who were involved in spot-fixing in connivance with Sreesanth, Ajit and Ankeet. The police then put their mobile phones under surveillance and recorded more than 100 hours of conversation with bookies in which the spot-fixing was discussed.
The police also found that Sreesanth was paid Rs 40 lakh for spot-fixing for an over during the Rajasthan Royals versus Kings XI match at Mohali on May 9.
Ajit spot-fixed an over during RRs’ match with Pune Warriors on May 5 for Rs 40 lakh. Ajit asked Ankeet to fix an over during Wednesday’s match between RR and Mumbai Indians for Rs 60 lakh.
“Ajit, however, forgot to give a pre-determined signal as a result of which bookies could not bet in the May 5 match. Ajit later promised a payment of Rs 60 lakh to Ankeet for spot-fixing,” Kumar added.
Sreesanth’s friend Jiju, a state-level cricketer, acted as a go-between the players and the bookies. “The suspects were kept under watch and it was revealed that match-fixers and bookies from Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Punjab and some players participating in IPL were conspiring to indulge in spot-fixing,” Kumar added.