Fixers in 5-day custody

New Delhi: Indian cricketer S. Sreesanth, arrested on charges of spotfixing in the ongoing IPL, claimed innocence on Thursday before a Delhi court which remanded him and 13 others, including two of his Rajasthan Royals team-mates, in five-day police custody.

The Delhi Police, however, told judge that the accused cricketers were “completely” involved the scandal and had taken money for fixing even Wednesday’s match. The police also said that besides the matches involving these three players, several other matches in the IPL were also fixed, with more arrest being likely.

Opposing the police’s plea seeking seven-day custodial interrogation of the accused, advocate Deepak Prakash, who appeared Sreesanth, told Chief Metropolitan Magistrate RK Tripathi that his client was innocent and been framed in the scandal.

"There is no evidence against Sreesanth. He is innocent and has been framed in the case,” Prakash told reporters.

Stressing that no case was made against the cricketers, especially Sreesanth, the lawyer said police only produced certain excerpts of the taped conversation of bookies. “He is a famous cricketer and the cricketers have many fans. The players cannot prosecuted just for taking calls, those calls which prove nothing.”

The counsel also told Mail Today that Sreesanth was extremely disturbed with the whole incident and will move for bail very soon. “He is very disturbed and now I will try for his after meeting him in the police station on Friday,” he said.

He also claimed that no money had been recovered from the players. Dressed in a black T-shirt and jeans, Sreesanth was brought to court in a separate car with his face covered with a black cloth.

Besides Sreesanth, the accused include two other cricketers Ajit Chandila, Ankeet Chavan and 11 bookies. Pressing for seven days custodial interrogation, Public Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan said the police had recovered various mobile phones, laptops, etc from the possession of accused and thus they needed time to retrieve the data and later confront the accused with electronic evidence.

The court allowed police’s plea but said five-day custody was sufficient for the police to interrogate them.

The players, who have been suspended by the BCCI, have been booked under section 420 (cheating) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.

What is spot-fixing?

It refers to illegal activity in cricket where a specific part a game is fixed.

It involves player agreeing to perform order by pre-arrangement.

Examples include something as minor as bowling a no-ball or a wide at a specific juncture.

Why is the Twenty20 format more susceptible for spot-fixing?

T20 is particularly susceptible to spot-fixing because individual performances can be dismissed as inconsequential due to the format’s ebbs and flows.

Some experts believe the number T20 matches now being played, especially in internationally televised domestic leagues, could tempt players take money from bookmakers in return for spot-fixing.

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