IPL scandal: Delhi cops question Raj Kundra

New Delhi, June 5 (IANS) Rajasthan Royals owner Raj Kundra and his friend Umesh Goenka were questioned Wednesday by the Delhi Police here in connection with the Indian Premier League (IPL) spot fixing scandal, an officer said.

Kundra was asked to clarify his role in the Indian Premier League franchise Rajasthan Royals and give more details about three arrested team players - S. Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, the officer said.

"We sought details on Kundra's ownership in the Rajasthan Royals team. Kundra was also asked to describe his responsibilities as he has 11.7 percent stake in the team and the rest of the stake is divided among other three owners - Suresh Chellaram, Manoj Badale and Andrew Murdoch," said the officer.

Kundra was asked if he had any other information about the role of Sreesanth, Chandila and Chavan in spot fixing and he replied in the negative, said the police officer.

Apart from Kundra and Goenka, police also called Rajasthan Royals cricketer Siddharth Trivedi, who is a prosecution witness in the scandal.

Trivedi, who has played for Gujarat in the Ranji Trophy, was earlier questioned May 30.

"Kundra was contacted by phone and asked to come to Delhi. He was questioned at the Special Cell office, starting 10 a.m.," said the officer. The Rajasthan Royals owner's questioning lasted six hours.

"Kundra was also asked if it was not his responsibility to ensure the directions of the anti-corruption unit of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. When he asked why his franchise did not try to tell players to follow the norms of the board, he replied that the players are mature enough," the officer said.

Kundra informed interrogators that when his franchise tried to know about the outsiders who used to come to meet the players at their hotels, the players informed that they were their guests.

"Kundra's involvement in the Rajasthan Royals team is more than other owners of the team and except for one match, he watched all matches. Thus, we called him to get more details," added the officer.

Police, according to sources, haven't asked Kundra to submit his passport. Kundra has businesses in Dubai, Ukraine and Botswana.

He might be called again for further questioning.

Replying to a question related to the relationship between Goenka and Kundra, the officer said they knew each other for over 15 years.

"Goenka is a resident of (west Delhi's) Punjabi Bagh area to which Kundra's mother belongs," said the officer.

A steel factory is run in Ahmedabad in partnership between Goenka, Kundra and another person.

Goenka's name came to light after it was revealed by cricketer Trivedi.

Trivedi told interrogators that Goenka met him in Ahmedabad, where he belongs. Goenka asked him about the team management.

"Goenka also asked Trivedi about the Ahmedabad pitch where an IPL match was played and he also sought his opinion about the winning team before a match," said the officer.

The Delhi Police also recorded Goenka's statement before a magistrate, but they are yet to confirm whether he will be made a prosecution witness.

"During questioning, Goenka supported some of the information which Delhi Police already have. He also gave some new information to police," said the officer.

Delhi Police have arrested 26 people in the IPL spot fixing case, including Sreesanth, Chandila and Chavan. Of these 23 have been sent to judicial custody, two - Chavan and Abhishek Shukla, Sreesanth's friend - are on bail and Tinku Mandy, one of the bookies has been handed over to Mumbai Police.

All the 26 accused arrested by Delhi Police were Tuesday booked under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act. Altogether, some 60 people have been arrested across the country in connection with the spot fixing scam.

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