Cops turn their focus on team owners

Sreesanth and Chavan admit to wrongdoing; Police to widen probe.

Police escort bookies and cricket players after they were produced in a court in New Delhi.

Fraternity reactions | Hall of shame | Underworld hand | Fixers in 5-day custody | Sreesanth's father apologises | RR banking on Dravid | Spot-Fixing: As it happened | Chandila wooed players | Police widen net | Royals' official statement

Delhi Police have reportedly indicated that it could widen the probe of an ongoing case of spot fixing in the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to include questioning of the owners of the Rajasthan Royals and the team's captain.

Television reports said that Shilpa Shetty Kundra and Raj Kundra, two of the owners of the Rajasthan Royals, and skipper Rahul Dravid, could be called in for questioning on the spot fixing case involving former Test fast bowler S.Sreesanth, and two other team players -- Ankit Chavan and Ajit Chandila. Read more

Meanwhile, the management of the controversy-hit franchise has issued a press release stating their stand on the spot-fixing allegations made against their players. The text of the statement can be accessed here.

Sob story

Rajasthan Royals bowlers S. Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan broke down under interrogation by Delhi Police on Friday and accepted their role in the spot-fixing scandal that has rocked the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL).

'Yes I made a mistake,' Chavan reportedly confessed to Delhi Police Special Cell. However, Chavan's family and lawyers claimed the cricketer was innocent. "It is said that small fish are easier to catch, that is what has happened here too. He is innocent, we know that. He has struggled a lot," his brother said.

Sreesanth, who until Thursday had claimed innocence said before a Delhi court that bookies 'did him in'. The Kerala medium pacer said that the bookie Jiju Janardhan had lured him into spot-fixing. This came as a huge shock to Sreesanth's family, who had maintained that he was innocent and was being framed by MS Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh (his father's claim).

Chandila in a soup: Read more

Chandila, who has not yet accepted the charges, was further implicated when it was learnt that he had approached two more IPL players to be part of spot fixing after bookies asked him to rope in more people, police sources said on Friday.

"During questioning, Chandila told police that he met bookies at Country Club in Manesar (adjoining Delhi) on April 6. In the meeting, the bookies asked him to rope in more players for spot fixing. He gave two names and the bookies asked him to bring them to a party where the deal could be discussed," police sources told IANS.

Video: Sree will never betray cricket
Video: Dravid devastated
Video: Sreesanth preaching

Amit Singh suspended

There was more trouble for Royals when Gujarat player Amit Singh was reported to be one of the 11 bookies arrested by the police on Thursday from New Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Singh is accused by the police of being the 'talent-spotter' for bookies. He was released by the Royals franchise in November. The BCCI suspended Amit pending inquiry. The cricket board is to meet on Sunday, and may consider after deliberation, the imposition of a life ban on the three principal accused players.

No more players

Delhi commissioner of police Neeraj Kumar said more arrests of bookies could be expected but no other cricketers were likely to be part of the racket. He also said that the nexus as discovered by the police investigation seems to be between players and bookies alone, and that there seemed to be no involvement of other individuals.

This is possibly the worst scandal to hit the perpetually controversial Indian Premier League, which attracts some of the best cricketers from around the world.

The Delhi police commissioner said while Chavan was paid Rs.60 lakhs by the bookies, Sreesanth and Chandila got Rs.40 lakhs each. Police said they had seized 55 mobile phones and laptops but needed to recover money allegedly paid to the players to give away a fixed amount of runs in one over each.

Neeraj Kumar said Sreesanth, Chavan and Chandela were involved in spot-fixing May 5, May 9 and May 15 in games against the Pune Warriors, King's Punjab XI and Mumbai Indians respectively.

'Sreesanth will fight it out' [Story]

Sreesanth's lawyer rubbished accusations that the paceman used a towel to signal bookies, before the start of an over that he would be giving away runs, saying that a majority of players use towels due to hot weather.

Cricket bookies raided in Chennai [Story]

Police in Tamil Nadu took into custody four cricket bookies on Friday, a day after three Rajasthan Royals players were arrested for allegedly spot fixing matches in exchange for money.

Dawood and company gets hold of T20 [Story]

Dawood Ibrahim's focus on cricket betting gained momentum again when the first edition of the T20 league was launched in India.

Royals banking on Dravid [Story]

In Rahul Dravid as skipper, the Royals have the perfect ingredient to prevent the side from falling apart. During his international tenure, Dravid has helped India stay afloat in precarious situations on countless occasions. He has the same task on hand here, albeit with a difference.

'I'm bewildered, I'm angry and I'm upset' [Story]

Australian fast bowler Shaun Tait has strongly denied any link to the arrest of three Indian team-mates allegedly involved in spot-fixing during an Indian domestic T20 tournament.

This is a developing story. More details will follow.