Delhi Police question Royals co-owner Raj Kundra

Delhi police are trying to find out the functioning of the Rajasthan franchisee from Kundra.

Rajasthan Royals' co-owner Raj Kundra is being questioned by the Delhi police on Wednesday in the cases relating to betting and spot-fixing case in the recently concluded edition of the Indian Premier League that has tainted the image of Indian cricket. Kundra is the first person to be questioned after Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA) was invoked in the case on Tuesday.

According to CNN-IBN, Delhi police are trying to find out the functioning of the Rajasthan franchisee from Kundra, who is married to Bollywood actor and Royals' co-owner Shilpa Shetty. Kundra's statement is being recorded at the Delhi Police special cell office.

Media reports said that police are keen to know from Kundra whether his players had discussed anything about bookies or had given him any hint about fixing of matches.

"We just wanted to know about the selection of S. Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan in the Rajasthan Royals team," a police official told IANS, adding that the questioning was part of a formal procedure.

The three arrested Rajasthan Royals cricketers - S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan - faced further trouble on Tuesday as the Delhi Police invoked the stringent MCOCA against them in the IPL spot fixing case. The case against the three cricketers and 23 others arrested in the spot fixing scandal will now move to a special MCOCA court.

The three cricketers along with 21 others have also been sent to judicial custody till June 18.

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The police say they have evidence of direct links between bookies and the underworld. News channel CNN-IBN said the police have evidence of links with Chhota Shakeel and Dawood Ibrahim.

The Delhi Police will now have to prove the cricketers' links with the organised crime syndicates before the court, which will then decide whether to charge them under MCOCA and begin the trial.

MCOCA provides for any confession made in front of the DCP in Delhi or the SP in any other state to be accepted as evidence. The MCOCA charge is non-bailable. The police can get custody of the accused of up to 30 days under this charge.

Out of 26 accused, Chavan and Sreesanth"s friend Abhishek Shukla are out on bail and co-accused Ashwani Aggarwal has been sent to Mumbai on a production warrant issued by a court there.

Additional Sessions Judge Sanjeev Jain will now hear the bail applications of 16 accused in the case as MCOCA has been invoked. The 16 accused, who have filed bail pleas include Sreesanth.

The police"s move of invoking MCOCA was opposed by the counsel for the accused, saying police does not have approval for it.

The police had earlier told the court that it was probing the angle of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim in the case and had said that interception of various calls suggested that several big names may be involved in the episode as calls were made to Dawood.

The police had said there are some missing links and they are working on it.

On Monday, the Delhi Police had spoken to former BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale to understand the revenue model of the IPL tournament in connection with the spot fixing scam they are probing, official sources said.

"We called Jagdale here to get an idea about BCCI's role in the agreement between team Rajasthan Royals, the board and the cricketers as the agreement is a tripartite one," sources said.

Delhi Police have also called IPL CEO Sundar Raman, along with Jagdale, as part of their information-gathering effort.

Rajasthan Royals had filed a complaint against its three arrested players - Sreesanth, Chandila and  Chavan - for breach of contract as they were allegedly involved in spot fixing in the just-concluded IPL.

The three cricketers were arrested on May 16 in Mumbai by Delhi Police for their alleged involvement in spot fixing in IPL matches for payments up to Rs.60 lakh each for giving away pre-determined number of runs in an over.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Chennai Super Kings team principal and Bollywood actor Vindoo Dara Singh were granted bail by a Mumbai court. All others arrested by the Mumbai Police in the betting scandal including bookies Ramesh Vyas, Alpesh Patel and Prem Tarneja were also granted bail.

The court has granted them conditional bail on a bond of Rs 25,000 each. All the accused have been told not to leave the country and to appear before the Mumbai Crime Branch every alternate day. (With agency inputs)