In a sensational development, Indian paceman S Sreesanth and two of his Rajasthan Royals teammates Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan were arrested by the Delhi police on the charges of spot fixing in the ongoing Indian Premier League.The police have also arrested 14 bookies in connection with the same case.The players received upto Rs 60 lakh for one over for giving away runs as per arrangements with bookies with underworld connections abroad.
It could be curtains as far as S Sreesanth’s cricket career is concerned as the BCCI is set to impose a life-ban on the ‘maverick’ pacer from Kerala for his alleged role in spot-fixing three of Rajasthan Royals’ Indian Premier League matches this season.
As of now, the BCCI top brass will be keeping an eye on how the Delhi Police Investigations pan out, but there is unanimity among the office-bearers that “Sreesanth should not be allowed to play any cricket at any level” from now on.
Talking to the media, Delhi police chief, Neeraj Kumar explained how Sreesanth and the 2 other players used secret codes to send signals to the bookies.Rotate your watch, put a towel in your trousers and remove your vest/shirt. These were some codes IPL players used to signal to bookies that they would be giving away runs in that particular over, Delhi Police chief Neeraj Kumar.
“There was an agreement between bookies and players that they would give a predetermined minimum number of runs in that particular over,” Neeraj Kumar told reporters.Detailing the modus operandi, he said: “Bookies also told them that they would have to give indications before start of an over about giving away runs. The indications included rotate your watch, put a towel in your trousers, put some time on looking around the field, take out locket or chain from your shirt and lift vest/shirt.”
The first incident of spot-fixing, he said, was found in the May 5 match between Pune Warriors and Rajasthan Royals. This was followed by the May 9 match between Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals and the May 15 match between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals.
The Commissioner said the mastermind in this episode is “sitting abroad”.Kumar said owners of IPL teams were not invovled besides ruling out the role of any batsman of any team in scam so far.”This is not something which happens overnight. These people the bookies they spot talent, spot vulnerable people who can be compromised and they work over a period of time.
two weeks.”Delhi Police were tracking the phone calls of players and bookies for the last two weeks. And after they got concrete evidence of involvement of players arrests were made,” a Delhi Police spokesperson said.
According to police sources, the arrests were made on the basis of tracking phone calls, at least two dozen of which originated from Pakistan.A couple of bookies of the total seven arrested from Mumbai in connection with ‘spot fixing’ are allegedly linked to absconder mafia don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, who is said to be in Pakistan, sources said. Dawood is believed to be a veteran in cricket betting and match fixing.
The players and bookies, who have been brought to Delhi, have been charged under section 420 (cheating) and 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy) but they are also likely to be booked under the stringent MCOCA, Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, which could land them in jail without bail and their confessions before a DCP level officer will be admissible in court
The special cell of the Delhi police arrested Sreesanth from his friend’s place in Mumbai while the other two cricketers were arrested last night from the team hotel at Nariman Point for their alleged role in spot fixing.”The arrests were made on the basis of phone tapping,” a Delhi Police source told Media.
The arrest 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.
All of three arrested players play for the Rajasthan Royals and a statement from the team confirmed that three of their players had been called in for investigation over spot-fixing charges, without confirming their identities.
“We are completely taken in by surprise… we will fully co-operate with the authorities to ensure a thorough investigation,” said the statement.
The Delhi police source said that 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 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.
A “shocked and saddened” BCCI suspended pacer S Sreesanth and two other Rajasthan Royals players accused of spot-fixing in the IPL and vowed to take “strictest action” against them if found guilty after an inquiry.It also said it was unfortunate to see players indulging in corruption despite getting good contracts from their franchises.
“As of now, the 3 players viz; Ankeet Chavan, Ajit Chandila and S. Sreesanth stand suspended pending enquiry. All information required to bring the persons involved to book will be collected and strictest action will be taken, if found guilty,” the BCCI said in a statement issued by Secretary Sanjay Jagdale.
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.
“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,” said Rajasthan Royals in a statement.
“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 added. Here’s what team owner Raj Kundra had to stay on the controversy.
When asked the repeated question is IPL fixed my answer is always IPL teams CAN’T be fixed but individual players who lack integrity can.
— Raj Kundra (@TheRajKundra) May 16, 2013
Last year, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had suspended Shalabh Srivastava, Mohnish Mishra, T.P. Sudhindra, Amit Yadav and Abhinav Bali for spot-fixing in the IPL that was revealed in a sting operation by a TV channel.
Spot fixing came to light in 2010 when three Pakistani cricketers Mohammad Asif, Mohammed Aamir and then skipper Salman Butt were arrested during the Test series in England.
The trio were alleged to have carried out specific on-field actions, including bowling no-balls at pre-determined times, for payment, during the Lord’s Test. The International Cricket Council (ICC) later handed them long bans and they were also convicted and sentenced to spells of detention in Britain.