S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila, Ankeet Chavan and 11 bookies after being produced at the residence of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate at Saket court complex in New Delhi on Thursday © PTI
New Delhi: May 17, 2013
In a new twist in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013 spot-fixing controversy, a Dubai-resident may hold the key to the investigation. On Wednesday night Rajasthan Royals players S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan were arrested on suspicion of spot-fixing.
The Delhi police cracked the investigation and brought to light the betting racket. Sunil Ramchandani alias Sunil Dubai is the Dubai-based man involved with Dawood Ibrahim, as reported by the Times of India.
Another name to come out is a person called Chandresh, who was referred to as ‘Jupiter’ in the phone intercepts done by the police. He is reportedly close to several politicians, builders and police officers.
“The hawala route in the payout of money indicates links to Dawood gang,” said a Delhi Police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The increase in the seizure of ‘dabba phones’ – phones on which betting rates are taken from Dubai – in recent days from betting syndicates seem to confirm that Dawood’s men control much of this cash-spinning industry running into thousands of crores.”
Neeraj Kumar, the Delhi Police commissioner, only termed the link as the ‘Mumbai underworld’ and headed by someone living abroad. Special cell sources revealed that there was a team doing probes on Dawood’s connection with the whole controversy.
“We’re trying to figure out whether the Dubai number used by the bookie kingpin actually originated in Dubai or somewhere else. The wires of this operation extend to Karachi, Dubai, Jaipur, Kolkata and Ahmedabad,” said a Delhi cop, adding that the teams in most of these places are due for further investigations.
Other intelligent sources said Sunil Dubai began operations in Mumbai around 20 years ago before heading to Dubai to shit his base. A Mumbai police officer said, “He used to shuttle between Dubai and Mumbai to coordinate operations till a few years ago.”
After his name came out the betting scandal, which involved a number of bookies, the Mumbai police issued a look-out notice. Sunil had applied for an anticipatory bail in Mumbai from Dubai, but his plea was rejected last month.
He took over the betting business after another Dawood man Sharad Shetty was killed by rival gangster Chhota Rajan’s men in Dubai 10 years ago. Sunil’s family though is believed to reside in London.
Sunil regularly travels to Karachi to meet Chhota Shakeel and Dawood. Police sources said heads a business worth over Rupees 500 crores spread across Mumbai, Delhi, Karachi and Dubai.
It is also understood that he bought most of an apartment building near the Maharashtra government headquarters in Mantralaya a few years back.
“The five-storey building was initially occupied by Indian Navy officials. He bought most of the flats except one owned by the state government. He is trying to capture that too. He intends to redevelop it once he manages to buy the last flat,” said a person with knowledge of the deal.
Some sources also said, “He decides the betting rate and the others follow it. Cricket fixing cannot happen without his go-ahead.” They also added that many bookies owe allegiance to him.
Sources also said that Chandresh had shifted base to Delhi some time back as the Mumbai police started cornering the bookies. He operated from Mumbai along with Naresh Majethia, who is based from Ahmedabad for about 15 years.
The whole investigation started with the interception of calls between Karachi and Dubai. This alarmed the special cell, who wrongly thought them as “coded exchange between terrorists”. But after continued interceptions it was revealed of connections involving IPL players and bookies.
The police will now interrogate a bookie, Ramesh Vyas, arrested on Tuesday. A police officer said he was the link between the Indian and Pakistani bookies and had exchanged around 30 calls to Pakistan.