Mumbai: Just when the scoreboard had begun ticking along for embattled Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief N. Srinivasan, the Mumbai Police has marked its run-up to fire in another toe-crushing yorker at the India Cements head.
A charge sheet related to the betting and spot-fixing scandal of this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) against Srinivasan’s son-in-law, Gurunath Meiyappan, is in the works.
Mumbai Police officials say they have done all the groundwork and that the charge sheet will be ready this week, or at most the next. Having chaired the BCCI’s disciplinary committee meet on September 13, Srinivasan was coasting along to chairing the body’s annual general meeting (AGM) on September 29.
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“I have chaired the meeting. What is more important is that we have taken some strict action against the tainted cricketers. I am still the president of the BCCI and have the right to chair the meeting,” an unfazed Srinivasan had said after the September 13 meeting.
The Mumbai Police charge sheet may derail Srinivasan’s dogged comeback strategy.
Besides Meiyappan, recognised as the team principal of the Chennai Super Kings team, the Mumbai Crime Branch that was investigating the case will also name Vindoo Singh Randhawa, the son of actor Dara Singh. Both Vindoo and Meiyappan, who CSK owner India Cements says was not team principal, were in contact during IPL matches, Mumbai Police has claimed.
They say Meiyappan used to bet on IPL matches through Vindoo and that he also passed on crucial team strategy and other information, which would then be relayed to bookies. An interesting facet of the case is whether the Mumbai Police will name Pakistan umpire Asad Rauf as an accused.
Rauf had fled to Pakistan when the IPL scandal broke. Crime Branch officials said that they are in the process of issuing a Letter Rogatory against his name in order to question him. They said that Rauf’s questioning is unlikely considering he is in Pakistan, but said Rauf is the key to the betting racket.
“Rauf’s role is important because Vindoo has claimed that Rauf would tell him about the pitch and weather conditions. Vindoo who would then pass it on to the bookies. Rauf’s questioning would be important as we want to know if he was only passing on information or was involved in fixing,” said a Crime Branch officer.
According to the officer, Rauf used to be paid through expensive items like jewellery, shoes, clothes, etc. “We suspect that the system was designed to not arouse suspicion for if he took cash then he could have been under the radar, but he only took gifts,” said the officer.
He added that Rauf’s questioning was also important to reveal the number of Pakistani bookies involved in the betting racket. While Vindoo is alleged to have been a go-between of bookies here, Rauf is suspected to be the bridge for Pakistani bookies.
Meiyappan and Vindoo have more reasons to lose sleep, for the Bombay High Court has rejected the anticipatory bail applications of two alleged bookies, Sanjay Chhabria and Pawan Chhabria, brothers more popularly known as Sanjay Jaipur and Pawan Jaipur. The two are currently wanted by the Mumbai Police in the IPL betting case.
The Mumbai Police has been desperately seeking their custody as they suspect Vindoo was passing on information gained from Meiyappan and Rauf to these two bookies. It is alleged that Rauf was gifted a gold chain by these two bookies for services rendered.
The Mumbai police claim that they have strong evidence to show that Meiyappan and Vindoo were involved in betting, including taped conversations between Meiyappan and Vindoo, and between Vindoo and other bookies.
The police have still not been able to recover the money involved in the alleged betting operation, however.
Meiyappan and co may end up being booked for only betting and forgery, offences that are notoriously hard to prove in court. Apart from Meiyappan, Vindoo and Rauf, 19 bookies are part of the case the Mumbai Police is building.
Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.