Fraternity reactions | Srinivasan: 'A few bad eggs' | Hall of shame | Underworld hand
Three Rajasthan Royals players, S. Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankit Chavan, were detained early on Thursday morning by the Delhi police for allegations of spot-fixing.
The BCCI has swiftly moved in to suspend all three cricketers pending investigation. Seven bookies in Mumbai and three in Delhi have also been detained along with the three.
The arrests were made under Indian Penal Code sections 420 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy).
PTI reported that Sreesanth was picked up by the police from Mumbai's Carter Road, Chandila from the Intercontinental Hotel and Chavan from the Trident Hotel after Wedneday night's game against Mumbai at the Wankhede Stadium. Rajasthan had lost that game by 14 runs.
Delhi commissioner of police Neeraj Kumar said that more arrests of bookies can be expected but no other cricketers are expected to be part of the racket. He also said that the nexus as discovered by the police investigation seems to be between players and bookies alone, and that there seemed to be no involvement of other individuals.
Neeraj said that the underworld is involved in the racket.
CRICKETERS, BOOKIES IN CUSTODY [Link]
A Delhi court Thursday sent the three cricketers to five days police custody.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Lokesh Kumar Sharma also sent to police custody the 11 bookies, arrested by special cell of Delhi Police from Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
Police had sought seven days police remand of the 14, contending saying they have collected total 55 mobile phones and laptops and they have to recover hawala money.
DRAVID'S REACTION [Link]
“I am shocked, disappointed, and distressed by the events that have resulted in the arrests last night and this morning. Rajasthan Royals is a special team, where we have always operated like a family – so this is particularly devastating. [Read the full statement]
THE MODUS OPERANDI
At a press conference at the Delhi police headquarters today, Neeraj and his associates shared evidences of the players' wrong-doings. Chandila was involved in wrongdoing in a game against Pune Warriors, Sreesanth against Kings XI Punjab, and Chavan against Mumbai Indians in last night's game.
Neeraj said the players and bookies worked out arrangements where players would give the bookies some sort of signal from the field that the deal was 'on'. "The modus operandi was there was an agreement between the bookies and a player that in a certain over they will give away a minimum amount of runs. The bookies also gave the players the directions. That they have to indicate they are ready to give away those runs. You rotate your watch or you put on your towel or you spend some time setting the field."
REGRET INCIDENT, BUT SHOW WILL GO ON: SRINIVASAN [Link]
The BCCI president and the team owner of the Chennai Super Kings, N. Srinivasan expressed regret that three Indian cricketers, including a Test cricketer were at the centre of the spot-fixing unearthed on Thursday.
Srinivasan conducted a press conference this afternoon. He reiterated that the BCCI would punish the perpetrators to the highest extent allowed within their rules, and that the IPL would go on because a few “bad eggs” can’t sully the whole tournament.
"One cannot assume that this will happen all the time. What can the BCCI do? We can put in place a massive education programme, which is already in place. We can engage professionals, which we have done. We have our own unit too. We are taking necessary preventive steps. If there are bad seeds, they are there. You can't paint everybody with a broad brush stroke. It is not fair."
CHAVAN'S 15-RUN OVER
The Delhi police said Chavan was caught on tape agreeing to spot-fix his second over. The agreement was for conceding 13 runs or more in the over in Wednesday's game between Rajasthan and Mumbai.
Bowling to Mumbai's Glenn Maxwell, Chavan bowled a slow half-tracker that was hit for six. We was hit for another six in the same over which went for 15 runs in all.
This fix was priced at Rs. 60 lakh.
On May 5, in a game against Pune, Chandila was supposed to concede 14 runs in his second over. As per the agreement Chandila was supposed to lift his shirt and look skywards - that was his signal to the bookie to place his bet - but Chandila forgot to make the signal. He still went for 14 runs.
Because he didn't make the signal, there was demands from his bookie Amit to return the Rs. 20 lakh that had been given to Chandila.
SREESANTH'S TOWEL ACT
In a game against Punjab, Sreesanth agreed to hang a towel from his trousers before the start of his second over. He would then do some warm-ups before the over giving his bookie time to place his bets. A persona named Jiju Janardhan (alias Biju), who was a club player and Sreesath's friend, was acting an intermediary between Sreesanth and the bookie.
The agreement was that Sreesanth would concede more than 14 runs in his over. According to Neeraj, Sreesanth received Rs. 40 lakh for his spot-fix. According to Neeraj, bookies made crores out of this fix.
THE UNDERWORLD'S INVOLVEMENT [Link]
"We had information that Mumbai underworld is indulging in match-fixing or spot-fixing and have contacted a number of bookies and some players," Neeraj said, giving details of the arrests of three players and 11 bookies in Mumbai late Wednesday night.
"There are overseas connections and there is evidence to prove that the underworld is involved," he said at the crowded press conference.
"There is no concrete evidence of any members of underworld don, Dawood Ibrahim so far. But, it can't be ruled out," he added.
He also said these bookies used to spot the "vulnerable" players who can be contacted easily. But only these three players came in their net.
"In April this year, secret information was received by the Special Cell that some members of the Mumbai underworld are involved in match fixing in the ongoing IPL matches with the active participation of some unidentified conduits, bookies, players - some of who are based in Delhi and national capital region," the top cop said.
CHANDILA'S WIFE SARITA REACTS
NDTV spoke to Chandila's family in Faridabad:
"He has been doing well for the last two-three years for Rajasthan. People are jealous of him. It's a conspiracy," said Sarita.
"He can't do such things. He doesn't have to. We have no clue why he should fix matches but the media is already calling him guilty. We are behind him," said Ajit's sister-in-law, Usha.
SREESANTH'S FATHER BLAMES DHONI, HARBHAJAN
Malyalam Manorama has quoted Sreesanth's father as saying that India captain MS Dhoni and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh (who was involved in the slapping controversy with Sreesanth) are behind the arrests.
Santhakuran Nair accused Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh of "trapping him in spot-fixing."
"Dhoni had once threatened Sreesanth," he said. Meanwhile, Sreesanth's mother said that he is not a person who "runs after money" and this "might be a trap to defame him."
His brother-in-law, Madhu Balakrishnan, a leading south Indian playback singer, said that the trap was a plot to "destroy Sreesanth’s marriage plans."
"DEAD AGAINST MATCH-FIXING" [Link]
Balakrishnan said the cricketer had been upset for the past many days and was seen crying. He added that Sreesanth told his parents that he was upset about not being allowed to play in some of the IPL matches.
"He is dead against match-fixing, and can never do anything like that. He told his parents that he was fully fit but was not being allowed to play. We are certain that he will do no wrong."
SECOND SPOT-FIXING SCANDAL IN TWO YEARS
This is the second spot-fixing and corruption controversy to dog the IPL in two years. In 2012, five cricketers were banned for various terms for an assortment of crimes. While the one-year bans handed to Amit Yadav, Mohnish Mishra and Abhinav Bali ended this week, a life-ban was handed to TP Sudhindra and a five-year ban to Shalabh Srivastava.
The full text of the BCCI's press statement:
The BCCI is shocked and saddened at the recent developments. The BCCI has zero tolerance to corruption. We will offer all cooperation to the Delhi police and all other authorities in their investigations in this matter. The IPL Governing Council has met and decided that the cricketers found involved will be dealt with severely.
As of now, the 3 players viz; Ankeet Chavan, Ajit Chandila and S. Sreesanth stand suspended pending enquiry. All information required to bring the persons involved to book will be collected and strictest action will be taken, if found guilty.
The BCCI engages the services of the anti corruption wing of the ICC to educate and monitor players and support staff in prevention of corruption of any form in the game. In fact, it is wholly unfortunate that despite such education, best playing conditions and terms of engagement offered, some players seem to be indulging in such activity.
SUNIL GAVASKAR'S REACTION
"We need to remember that people are innocent till proven guilty. The T-20 format is such that unorthodox things are tried, sometimes they come off, sometimes they don't. I don't think there has been anything in the IPL that has raised my eyebrows."
FIXING CARTEL INFILTRATING SCHOOLS [Link]
The IPL betting syndicate has got the capital’s schoolchildren in its sights now. Children from Delhi’s top schools are increasingly getting involved in betting through bookies.
A Mail Today Investigation discovered that seven children have recently been withdrawn from their institutions after being caught with hands in the betting till. A new mobile phone application, or app, that can be easily downloaded on android phones is driving this trend.
Called ‘bet-droid viewer’, the app gives information on betting rates across teams. Teenagers are hooked. They get in touch first with the punters (middlemen of bookies), who in turn connect them to bookies.
OFFICIAL REACTION FROM RAJASTHAN [Link]
"We have been informed that 3 of our players have been called in for investigation on spot fixing in matches. We are completely taken by surprise. We do not have the full facts at this point and are unable to confirm anything. We are in touch with the BCCI on this matter. We will fully cooperate with the authorities to ensure a thorough investigation. The management at Rajasthan Royals has a zero-tolerance approach to anything that is against the spirit of the game."
KUNDRA'S REACTION [Link]
Team owner Raj Kundra has tweeted: "Just when IPL was going on so smoothly without controversies I woke up to the news of 3 RR players alleged spot fixing."
"When asked the repeated question is IPL fixed my answer is always IPL teams CAN'T be fixed but individual players who lack integrity can" (sic).
This is a developing story. More details will follow.
MORE ON SPOT-FIXING:
Inside The Dark World Of Match Fixing (Nov 20, 2012)
A Monster The BCCI Created (May 17, 2012)
The Dark Side of The IPL (May 16, 2012)
Dial 'M' For Match Fixing (May 6, 2011)
ALSO SEE: CRICKET'S HALL OF SHAME