New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) A Delhi court Tuesday extended by five days the police custody of cricketer S. Sreesanth, his Rajasthan Royals teammates Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila and eight bookies for alleged spot fixing in the ongoing Indian Premier League.
Metropolitan Magistrate Saumya Chauhan granted police custody of the players and the bookies till May 26 when Sreesanth along with others were presented in a packed courtroom at the end of their earlier police remand and investigators described the crime as "organised conspiracy".
The accused were using the modus operandi of asking bowlers, who agreed to indulge in spot fixing, to give pre-decided signals with the help of their accessories - like wrist watches, wrist bands, neck chains and towels at the time of starting the over, police said.
"The bowlers were asked to concede at least a given number of runs in a pre-determined and mutually decided over. After the receipt of the signal from the bowler, the bookies would bet heavily and make huge profits," the prosecutor told the court.
"Samples of voice of 12 accused have been recorded for matching them with intercepted calls. The teams are still stationed at many cities to apprehend more accused linked with the case," the prosecution said.
The court also sent to 14 days' judicial custody five other bookies, after the prosecution said they were no longer needed for interrogation.
Public Prosecutor Rajeev Mohan, appearing for Special Cell of Delhi Police, sought the custody of Sreesanth and 10 others for five more days saying the accused were needed to unearth the whole conspiracy.
"They (accused) are needed for recovery of more spot fixing related money and equipments from various places," he said, adding that they will also be brought before each other during questioning.
The prosecutor said their custody was also needed to arrest some co-accused.
Police told the court two mobile phones, bought with spot fixing money, were recovered from Sreesanth's girlfriend from Jaipur.
Advocates appearing for the accused opposed the extension of their police custody, claiming that nothing remained to be recovered from them.
Sreesanth and 10 others were arrested by the Special Cell of Delhi Police from the national capital region, Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
Police have booked the cricketers under provisions of the Indian Penal Code for criminal breach of trust as they did not play for their team and played for the bookies for their own interest. They were also booked for cheating and criminal conspiracy.
The bookies were booked for cheating and criminal conspiracy.
The public prosecutor told the court that 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 Rajasthan Royals players Sreesanth, Chandila and Chavan.
A number of mobile phones, laptops and recording machines were seized from the accused, police said.
They said Rs.20 lakh in cash was seized and four accused were arrested from Aurangabad in Maharashtra and Delhi.
The prosecutor told the court that in the morning one more cricketer and former Ranji player, Baburao Yadav, was arrested.
Picked up from Delhi, Yadav was questioned for his links with Chandila in the case. He was the one who introduced Chandila to bookie Sunil Bhatia, who is also in custody, a police official said.
The prosecutor said police arrested the accused after recording their phone conversations between April 14 to May 15.
Police arrested Sreesanth and two other Rajasthan Royals players in a post-midnight operation in Mumbai May 16 for spot fixing in IPL matches for payments of up to Rs.60 lakh just for giving away a pre-determined number of runs in an over.
The cricketers indulged in spot fixing in at least three IPL matches as per arrangements with bookies who have underworld connections abroad, police said.