Trouble for Shilpa, Kundra also in dock
Police deny slapping of MCOCA on 26 accused
Officials investigating the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot-fixing case claimed on Thursday that Rajasthan Royals owner Raj Kundra and his actor-wife Shilpa Shetty were involved in betting. While Kundra used to place bets through his friend Umesh Goenka, Shilpa put her money “once in one match.”
Police have ruled out the immediate arrest of Kundra, a British national, and Goenka, but stated that the duo could be held if further investigation points at their involvement in spot-fixing.
“During questioning on Wednesday, Kundra confessed to betting. So did his friend Goenka. They have also stated in their written statement that Shilpa Shetty placed bet once during a match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils in Delhi,” said a senior police officer.
Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said: “Kundra has admitted to betting. He used to bet on his own team. We have also come to know that he lost a lot of money in betting. He used to bet through Goenka, who is also a bookie.”
The police have not invoked the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against the 26 accused, including cricketers S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan. “We have applied law based on the crime committed and evidence collected so far,” Kumar said.
Goenka, 36, was called for questioning on Thursday morning. Late in the afternoon, he was asked to submit his passport and thereafter let off. He has been asked to join the probe as and when required. Goenka was questioned on Wednesday as well, along with Kundra, for around 12 hours. Kundra’s passport was also confiscated. He has been instructed not to leave the country and appear before the investigators whenever called.
Investigators claimed that Goenka has confessed to placing bets for Kundra with the help of bookies based in Jaipur and Delhi. He said Shetty had also placed bets “once.”
The police have extracted names of five more bookies from Goenka.
They were called after cricketer Sidharth Trivedi, 30, who has become a prosecution witness, revealed that Goenka used to place bets and even tried to extract information on pitches and chances of “winning or losing of a particular team.”
Goenka was born in Sikkim. In 1984, he came to Delhi and stayed at Punjabi Bagh. He got into share trading and launched a sponge iron business, but incurred losses. Meanwhile, he became friends with Kundra who used to visit his mother’s house at Punjabi Bagh.
Goenka left for London and stayed there for two years. After returning in 2008, he launched Ashwani Steel Private Ltd in Ahmedabad in which he owns 16 per cent share while Kundra has 42 per cent stakes. It was then that he met Sidharth Trivedi.
Kundra bought 11.7 per cent stake in Rajasthan Royals. The investigators said Kundra has been betting for the last three years and Goenka for the last six years. Till date, Kundra has placed crores of rupees in bets, not only in favour of his team, but also for other franchises.
Kundra, in his statement recorded under Section 161 of the CrPC, said he had incurred losses in betting.
On Shetty placing bets, the investigators said they are in the process of verifying the claims.
“Both Goenka and Kundra are involved in betting, which is a crime. But now we are verifying whether they were involved in spot-fixing or not,” said an officer.
BCCI to hold emergency meeting
Kolkata, PTI: The Board of Control for Cricket in India convened an Emergent Working Committee meeting in New Delhi on Monday to discuss the betting charges against Rajasthan Royals co-owner Raj Kundra.
Addressing a press conference here, the BCCI working group’s chief Jagmohan Dalmiya said the entire issue of Raj Kundra’s alleged involvement in betting will come up for discussion at the meeting.
The veteran administrator also said Baroda Cricket Association’s Sanjay Patel will be the new BCCI Secretary while an announcement on the treasurer’s post will be made later.
He also said no BCCI member will be part of the inquiry commission and retired high court judges T Jayaram Chouta and R Balasubramaniam will form the two-member panel to probe into the allegations against BCCI chief N Srinivasan’s son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan and the Chennai Super Kings.