Dravid: Felt cheated by tainted players

New Delhi: Rajasthan Royals captain Rahul Dravid's statement has been recorded as a prosecution witness in the IPL spot fixing scam, Delhi Police officials said on Tuesday, but clarified that the former India captain was not under any suspicion.

"We have recorded Rahul Dravid's statement last Wednesday at his Bangalore residence under section 161 of the CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code)," Joint Commissioner of Police (Special Cell), M.M. Oberoi told IANS.

Oberoi also clarified that Dravid is not an accused.

"As a captain of Rajasthan Royals team, he was just formally questioned and his statement was recorded as of a witness," he said.

According to the Times of India, Dravid told the Delhi Police at his Bangalore residence that he wouldn't have picked the players if he had known that they were involved in spot-fixing.

"I was hurt when I heard the news of players from my team — S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan — being involved in spot-fixing during the IPL matches. The selection happened on match-to-match basis depending on the weather conditions, requirement of a particular player on a particular pitch and keeping other aspects in mind. If I had known that the players were involved in spot-fixing, I would not have put them in the playing eleven," Dravid is quoted as saying.

Special Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) S.N. Srivastava told IANS that Dravid is a respectable Indian cricket player and the police team only approached him because he, as a captain of the Indian Premier League (IPL) team, was among the members of team selecting committee on a match to match basis.

In his statement, Dravid said that he felt cheated by the conduct of the three Rajasthan Royals cricketer S. Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, who were arrested by Delhi Police on charges of spot fixing, when he first heard about the news.

According to Srivastava, Dravid never had any doubt about these players.

"Dravid said that he had no any inkling that the three Rajasthan Royals players were fixed,” said the officer.

The officer said that no fingers have been raised against Dravid in this case. They had recorded his statement to make a strong charge sheet.

Special Cell also plans to record the statement of Rajasthan Royals' coach Paddy Upton, who is in South Africa.

"Upton could also be made a prosecution witness once he returns to India," the officer said.

Dravid has expressed his sadness over the entire issue, saying he was unaware of the scandal and termed it as a tough phase for his IPL team.

Delhi Police is set to file a charge sheet that includes the name of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, Chota Shakeel among others in the spot fixing scandal.

The scandal was busted with the arrest of Sreesanth, Chavan and Chandila along with 11 bookies from Mumbai May 16. According to police, 18 more people were arrested.

Twenty-one accused in the case, including Sreesanth and Chavan, have been granted bail by the court.