More arrests over spot-fixing; Cops to grill Sreesanth for five more days

[SPOT-FIXING ROUND-UP] Actor Vindoo Dara Singh arrested.

Vindoo was spotted with Sakshi, the wife of MS Dhoni, during the CSK-MI IPL game on April 6. (BCCI)

SPOT-FIXERS SENT TO CUSTODY

A Delhi court on Tuesday agreed a five-day custody extension for Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, his Rajasthan Royals team-mates Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila who are accused of spot-fixing during the ongoing Indian Premier League.

"Police said they wanted to interrogate them further and also conduct raids on their houses," said SK Rai, one of the prosecuting lawyers who was present at the hearing. Eleven other bookmakers who were arrested at the same time as the Rajasthan Royals players were also refused bail during the afternoon sitting.

Sreesanth however denied any wrongdoing in the IPL. "I am innocent and have done no wrong. I have never indulged in any spot-fixing," the suspended Royals pacer said. "I have utmost faith in our judicial process and I am confident that with time I will be proved innocent, and my honour and dignity will be vindicated and restored," he said in a statement.

SAHARA vs BCCI

In a further blow to the IPL, the struggling Pune Warriors franchise announced it was pulling out of the tournament. The decision is largely symbolic as the team has already finished their matches, finishing second from bottom of the tournament. However, Sahara will continue to sponsor the Indian cricket team till December 2013.

1.28 CRORE RECOVERED FROM BOOKIE

Joint commissioner of police Himanshu Roy disclosed that Rs.1.28 Crore has been recovered from bookie Alpesh Patel.

The Supreme Court today refused to ban the IPL as a game and as a league as it dismissed a petition seeking to scrap the remaining matches of IPL-6 amid growing concerns about corruption in the sport. The apex court, however, pulled up the BCCI for its lackadaisical attitude and asked for an action report within two weeks.

Meanwhile, the spot fixing saga snared its first Bollywood victim with Vindoo Dara Singh being arrested by Mumbai crime branch officials for his links with betting mafia. Vindoo, the son of the late Dara Singh, will be produced in a Mumbai lower court on Wednesday. News channels quoted sources as saying Vindoo was arrested following the arrest of Ramesh Vyas, who is linked to key bookies Jupiter and others named by Delhi police.

Vindoo, the winner of a reality show, was in constant touch with Vyas, according to call details.

News channel CNN-IBN quoted sources as saying Vindoo was named by Vyas and questioned by the Mumbai Police on Monday night before being formally arrested today morning. Vindoo has reportedly admitted to betting after being questioned for hours by Mumbai Police.

THE DHONI-VINDOO-CSK CONNECTION
[Link]

From a Mid Day story dated April 9:

For most, it certainly made for an odd sight. Not much is known of Vindoo’s proximity to MS Dhoni. It came as a surprise to see the actor cheering and chatting so comfortably with Indian cricket’s first lady.

Says Vindoo, “I must have received thousands of calls that night. I really didn’t think that sitting next to Sakshi would get me so much attention. I don’t know why the camera was focussing on me so much!”

The actor was at the match at the invitation of Chennai Super Kings owner Gurunath Meyyappan. “I know him well. When I reached the box, Sakshi told me to come and sit next to her. I had met Dhoni and her last year during the IPL finale,” explains Vindoo.

He considers Sakshi as his bhabhi. “Dhoni is an extremely humble guy and Sakshi is a really sweet person. She remembered that we had met during the IPL last year. We were cheering for Chennai even thought it was just not their day. They lost the match to Mumbai Indians thanks to Kieron Pollard. I think he was made to hit not sixes but 12s.”

Post the match, Vindoo met Dhoni and the other team members and then left for Tirupati. “That was the main reason why I was in Chennai as I was keen to visit the Balaji temple.”


SUPREME COURT'S RULING

While directing the one man commission appointed by the BCCI to look into IPL irregularities and submit its report within two weeks, the apex court said: "The credibility of the game should be maintained. Spot-fixing is because of lackadaisical attitude of the BCCI and must stop."

An apex court bench of Justices B.S. Chauhan and Dipak Misra asked the BCCI to take appropriate actions against the individual players as well as the team indulging in illegal activities in order to make sure the "gentleman's game" keeps up its status.

"There has to be scientific, rational and dispassionate approach by BCCI to stop fixing," the Supreme Court said,

The court also said that even judges were shocked by the spot-fixing scandal and added cricket is a gentleman's game and should remain as such.

In its reply, the BCCI said it has appointed the board's anti-corruption unit chief Ravi Sawani to look into the IPL irregularities; and added anti-graft officials will accompany IPL teams.

Former Test bowler S Sreesanth and two other players were arrested along with 11 bookmakers on Thursday on suspicion of spot-fixing in the IPL.

The case has prompted the government to look at the possibility of introducing a law to combat match fixing and spot-fixing.

Cricket fan Sudarsh Awasti, an architect by profession and self-declared social activist, had lodged the petition with the court demanding the scrapping of the remaining four IPL matches, including Sunday's final.

He had also called for a special investigation to be launched to get to the bottom of the spot-fixing scandal and for the league to be banned from next year.

POLICE QUESTIONS TRIO AGAIN

Even as police prepares to ask for further custody of the three cricketers arrested for alleged spot fixing, a special cell of the Delhi Police questioned S. Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan again today before producing them in a Saket court later in the day.

According to news channel Times Now, the Special Police has prepared a report of its probe into the case so far. Sources told the channel that the cash and gifts allegedly given to the three players is yet to be traced.

A day after Rajasthan Royals filed a police complaint against their three players - Sreesanth, Chandila and Chavan - arrested for alleged spot-fixing in IPL matches and, pending inquiry, suspended the trio's contracts; the Delhi Police will ask for further custody of the three cricketers, and seven of the 11 bookies when the accused are produced at a Saket court in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The three cricketers were interrogated for the fifth straight day by the Delhi Police yesterday and were questioned together for the first time. Sources say all three confessed to their crime, but blamed each other for dragging them into spot-fixing.

Meanwhile, Baburao Yadav, the former Ranji cricketer detained yesterday has been formally arrested and is also likely to be produced in court. Sources told news channel CNN-IBN that Baburao was the conduit between bookie Sunil Bhatia and Chandila. Delhi Police had yesterday recovered Rs.20 lakh from the house of a relative of Chandila in Haryana's Palwal.

Even as the lawyer for Sreesanth prepares to file for bail, the case against him and Chandila has tightened with developments in the probe by the Delhi Police and the Mumbai Police. 

A Delhi Police team led by Commissioner Neeraj Kumar is questioning S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan before they are taken to court. The police are likely to tell the court that the names of more cricketers need to be probed.

SREESANTH WENT SHOPPING

Sreesanth went on a shopping spree with the money he earned from spot-fixing, buying apparel worth Rs.1.95 lakh for himself and a mobile phone costing over Rs.40,000 for his girlfriend, Delhi Police said on Tuesday. He wanted to quickly dispose of the money which he got after fixing, a police official said.

CHAIRMAN MEETS POLICE


The Rajasthan Royals chairman Ranjit Barthakur has met the Delhi police special cell handling the spot-fixing case.

ANOTHER BOOKIE ARRESTED

The Chennai Police have arrested a bookie Prashant in connection with the IPL spot-fixing scandal. The police have recovered Rs 4 lakh cash from him.


SEVEN LUCRATIVE MINUTES [Link]

In the space of just seven minutes early in the evening on May 9, cricket bookie Chandresh Patel allegedly made Rs 2.5 crore. Those were the minutes that India pacer Sreesanth took to send down his second, allegedly fixed, over in Mohali, conceding a predetermined number of runs. Those were also the minutes in which Patel made his killing, reports Indian Express.


'HELPING ICC FIGHT FIXING [Link ]

Baburao, who was questioned by Delhi police yesterday, claimed that he was helping the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) fight the problem of fixing in cricket.

"I have nothing to do with spot fixing. I haven't done anything wrong so I am ready to provide all the information. In fact, I am helping the ICC's ACU on certain issues," Baburao told Times of India on Monday from Delhi, just before he was taken to the special cell of Delhi Police for questioning.


CONTENTS OF SREESANTH'S LAPTOP [Link]

Mumbai Police sources told CNN-IBN that the examination of Sreesanth's laptop and notebook points to his e-mail interactions with a suspected Bollywood casting director, who sent him pictures of models. Sources say that some e-mails, possibly Sreesanth's conversations with Jiju and a bookie Jupiter, have been deleted and now the cyber cell will be asked to retrieve all the mails.


NO PRESSURE ON US: DELHI POLICE

Delhi Police said yesterday there was no pressure on them to go soft on the three players accused of spot fixing as officials of the BCCI's anti-corruption unit met the capital's police chief seeking cooperation in the case.

Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar told NDTV 24X7 channel after meeting BCCI's ACSU chief Ravi Sawani.: "There is no pressure whatsoever and, in any case, even if there is any pressure we are going to take this probe to its logical end, come what may."


LEGALISE BETTING: ZINTA [Link]

As the spot-fixing scandal puts a black spot on the Indian Premier League, Kings XI Punjab owners Preity Zinta and Ness Wadia have come up with suggestions like putting franchise owners in the IPL governing council, legalising betting and carrying out random polygraph tests on players.


CASTING DIRECTOR QUESTIONED [Link]

The Mumbai Police yesterday questioned a woman and a Bollywood casting director for their links to spot-fixing in the IPL.

The night Sreesanth was arrested, he was in a car with two models who allegedly doubled up as escorts. One of the women was questioned yesterday.

The casting director questioned by the police had allegedly sent Sreesanth pictures and numbers of 13 models and small-time actresses.


COURT DISPOSES OF SREESANTH'S PLEA
 
A Delhi court yesterday disposed of a plea by Sreesanth, seeking a copy of the first information report (FIR) registered against him.

Metropolitan Magistrate Gaurav Rao disposed of Sreesanth's plea as his lawyer did not turn up in the court to pursue it.

Sreesanth's advocate Deepak Prakash, filing the application, told the court that the accused should be told about the grounds of his arrest. Sreesanth was an international-level player and had no reasons to get involved in spot fixing, he added.


BANGALORE CONNECTION [Link]

The two 'escort girls' accompanying Sreesanth when Delhi police arrested him in Mumbai last week, are from Bangalore, highly placed police sources said.

The Bangalore girls not only accompanied the Kerala-based cricketer, but also monitored his movements and passed it to their 'bosses', suspected to be bookies, said police sources.


COVERAGE WRAP-UP

Rajasthan file police complaint against tainted players

Cash, laptop seized from Sreesanth's room

Sreesanth, Chavan confess to crime

Sreesanth, Chandila, Chavan arrested


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