IPL betting scandal: IPS officer, who named Dhoni, suspended

IPS officer Sampath Kumar allegedly received Rs 53 lakh from a bookie to release him from the IPL spot-fixing probe.

MS Dhoni is under the scanner after being named by Sampath Kumar. (Getty Images)

Chennai: IPS officer Sampath Kumar, who had probed the IPL betting case as 'Q' branch SP before it was handed over to the Tamil Nadu Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID), now finds himself at the centre of a fresh controversy, as he was suspended by the Tamil Nadu government on Friday.

News agency PTI said that Sampath Kumar had been suspended for making charges against his colleagues in the context of the IPL match—fixing scam. However, Times of India reported that the reason was because Sampath Kumar had allegedly received money from a bookie.

The Times of India report stated Police sources had told the newspaper that Sampath Kumar was suspended because the CB-CID police booked a case against him for collecting Rs 53 lakh from one of the bookies, Mahendar Randak, to release him from the case. Sampath Kumar, who is currently posted as Superintendent, Railway in Tiruchi later surrendered Rs 30 lakh to the CB-CID, the sources said.

Though Sampath Kumar was questioned, he claimed Randak merely helped him repay old debts. He was transferred out of the Q Branch, but no further action was taken.

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Sampath Kumar's statement to the Justice Mudgal Committee probing the match fixing issue also sparked controversy across the country, as he claimed that bookie Uttam C Jain alias Kitty had told him that Indian skipper M.S. Dhoni and a few other players had attended a party thrown by bookies. He is also believed to have told the panel that state police officers avoided investigating the match-fixing angle to the May 12, 2013, IPL tie between Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals.

He had also in a note to the Supreme Court-appointed Justice Mudgal panel said that an independent inquiry should be conducted into the allegations of corruption against Gurunath Meiyappan and Chennai Super Kings team owner India Cements.

CB-CID chief Narinderpal Singh had reportedly written to DGP K Ramanujam recently recommending Sampath Kumar's suspension and his custodial interrogation. "Kumar, while deposing before the commission, levelled baseless allegations against his former colleagues in the state intelligence wing as well as senior CB-CID officials to preempt any further action against him in the betting racket," a source in the state police was quoted by news agencies as saying.

The Mudgal panel had said "on the issue of whether Mr Gurunath Meiyappan was involved in match fixing and spot fixing, the issue has not been investigated thoroughly by the ICC-ACSU, BCCI's ACU or the CB-CID of the Chennai Police though some information was available for such an investigation to be conducted”.

The Tamil Nadu CB-CID police on Wednesday had asserted that investigation covering all "relevant factors" including IPL match-fixing and betting were under progress. "We are investigating in all angles; whether it is betting on IPL matches or match fixing following emergence of new leads. All relevant factors are being looked into and these will be reflected in the charge sheet," a top official of the investigative agency told PTI.

The official had also stated that if investigations could not be completed within the stipulated time for filing charge sheet, the police would approach the jurisdictional court seeking more time.