ICC anti-graft body official ''warned'' Meiyappan over bookie links

Last Updated 31 May 2013, 14:52 IST

An ICC official had "warned" CSK team owner Gurunath Meiyappan to be "careful" about his association with bookies weeks before he was arrested in connection with the IPL betting scandal, police said today.

An offcial of the anti-corruption unit of the highest governing body of international cricket had verbally asked Meiyappan, son-in-law of BCCI president N Srinivasan, to steer clear of the bookies after the activities of the Chennai franchise honcho came to their notice, a top crime branch officer involved in the investigation said.

"Be careful, I have been warned," Meiyappan had told actor Vindoo Randhawa who is also under arrest in the case. This is part of Meiyappan's statement to the crime branch, the source said, adding Vindoo has corroborated it.

The source declined to reveal the name of the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) official and said they were yet to corroborate it with the ICC.

"We are yet to corroborate Meiyappan's statement with ICC and we at the moment don't even know if any person by that name (given by Meiyappan) exists," he said. The ACSU keeps players, team members and umpires under surveillance in order to check malpractices in the game.

Crime branch sources said that at no stage BCCI was informed about the "dubious" activities of Meiyappan.

"The ACSU official was in direct communication with Meiyappan. BCCI was not informed about it," they said.

Sources said when Meiyappan was asked why such warning was issued to him, he (CSK owner) replied "probably because of the company (Vindoo and other bookies) I kept."
They said the crime branch did not have any transcript of the telephonic conversations Meiyappan had with Vindoo with regard to the ICC official asking the former to beware of bookies.

Earlier in the day, a Mumbai court extended the police remand of Meiyappan, Vindoo and two others arrested in the IPL betting case till June 3 after prosecution sought further custody to unravel their connection with absconding bookies.

Additional Metropolitan Magistrate A A Khan granted the crime branch's plea for extending their remand rejecting the defence counsels' contention that the offence they had been booked for were bailable and that they had already spent "sufficient time" in Mumbai police's custody.

In its remand application, police said Meiyappan, Vindoo, Alpesh Patel, a hawala operator, and Prem Taneja, a conduit for bookies, were needed to be interrogated further to know about the wanted bookies Sanjay Jaipur, Pawan Jaipur and Jupiter.

Meanwhile, a Chennai hotelier Vikram Agarwal, known in the betting circles as Victor, today appeared before the crime branch and his statement is being recorded.
Agarwal, a friend of Meiyappan for the last 15 years, allegedly led the IPL betting syndicate in the southern city.

According to Joint Commissioner (crime) Himanshu Roy, Radisson Blu hotel owner Agarwal is a "key link" between the betting syndicate and Bollywood celebrities.

The statement of Ashwin Agarwal alias Tinku Delhi, arrested by the special cell of Delhi Police in connection with the spot-fixing case involving Indian pacer S Sreesanth and two other Rajasthan Royals players, is also being recorded.

Sources said his interrogation is likely to shed light on the Pakistani connection to the betting racket.

Meanwhile, BCCI's manager for game development, Ratnakar Shetty, said ICC's anti-corruption unit head Y P Singh was present at the cricket board's previous emergency working committee meeting but he did not inform the BCCI members that Meiyappan had been warned by ICC.

"An emergent meeting of the working committee was held on 19th (May) after the three players (S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila) were arrested, at which Y P Singh was also present who is the head of anti-corruption unit of ICC. Also present along with him was (Ravi) Sawani who is the head of anti-corruption unit of BCCI.

"And I don't remember them having informed at that meeting of any report on such matters that have been told to the BCCI. That is as far as my knowledge goes," Shetty said here.

"I cannot comment on what ICC told Gurunath. There cannot be official or unofficial in this. I have made a statement that as far as BCCI is concerned it was an official working committee meeting at which both the officials were present as invitees.

"And to the best of knowledge they have not told any such thing to the BCCI directly. Now what conversation has taken place between them and any individual, we cannot comment on it," he said.

(Published 31 May 2013, 12:49 IST)

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