Delhi Police produce transcripts of conversation between bookies and Rajasthan Royals' players

Ajit Chandila, S Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan representing Rajasthan Royals were arrested by Delhi Police for spot-fixing © IANS

New Delhi: May 16, 2013

Paceman S Sreesanth and two other bowlers belonging to the Rajasthan Royals IPL team who were arrested on Thursday for spot-fixing, received upto Rs 60 lakh for one over for giving away runs as per arrangements with bookies with underworld connections abroad.

The sensational arrests of the three players in the early hours of the morning in Mumbai by the Special Cell of Delhi Police has cast a shadow over the ongoing IPL tournament and the players have been suspended by the BCCI.

At a crowded press conference, Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said that the Special Cell had hundreds of hours of recordings of phone conversations between the players and bookies, 14 of whom have also been arrested.

More arrests are on the anvil but the role of no other player, Indian or foreign, has come to light.

The players and bookies, who have been brought to Delhi, have been charged under section 420 (cheating) and 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy) but they are also likely to be booked under the stringent MCOCA, Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, which could land them in jail without bail and their confessions before a DCP level officer will be admissible in court.

Kumar gave a detailed account of the conversations that took place between bookies and the arrested Rajasthan Royals players — Sreesanth and spinners Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila.

Kumar revealed explosive details of the modus operandi followed by bookies and the cricketers, giving audio-visual proof of three IPL matches which were manipulated.

Kumar revealed how bookies gave the caught players specific approval codes which were used to signify a compromised over during the matches.

“In certain overs they [the players] were supposed to give away a certain amount of runs. The bookies gave players instructions that they have to indicate that they would give away these runs,” Kumar said.

“The instructions were ‘put the towel in your trousers or take time setting up the field or take out the shirt or the vests that you are wearing’,” added Kumar, elaborating on the signals that the players used to convey their consent for the bookies’ instructions.

The top cop listed three Rajasthan Royals’ matches — on May 5, 9 and 15 against Pune Warriors, Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians respectively — where spot-fixing took place.

“The first instance that came to our notice was Rajasthan Royals vs Pune Warriors on May 5. In this match, as already agreed upon, Chandila gave 14 runs in the second over of his spell but he forgot to give the predetermined signal due to which the bookies could not bet in this match,” Kumar said.

“This led to an argument and demands for return of money. Rs 20 lakh was advanced to him and another 20 was to be given later. He had to return the money,” he added.

The DCP then stated that in this particular match, Sreesanth’s close friend Jiju Janardhan was in touch with bookie Chandresh Patel.

“As decided Sreesanth bowled the first over without a towel. but in the second over he put a towel in his trousers and to give bookies time, he did some warm-up and stretching exercises,” he said.

“He gave 13 runs instead of the agreed 14 in his over,” said Kumar, adding that minor aberrations were not of much consequence for the bookies.

The police showed the clipping from the match in which Sreesanth bowled the compromised over with a towel.

The next game police talked about took place only the previous night against the Mumbai Indians.

“Ajit Chandela was not playing but he was acting as a go-between among the bookies and Ankeet Chavan to take Rs 60 lakh and perform as per the bookies’ instruction. He was supposed to give 13 or more runs,” Kumar said.

“He gave two runs in his first over and in the second over, in the first three balls itself he gave 14 runs after which he controlled his bowling and gave only one more run in the remaining three balls,” he added.

“Chandila motivated Chavan, they had a chat with the bookies. Chavan said ‘I would move my wristband’ to signal,” added Yadav.

“We were keeping them under surveillance. The names of these three came to light and we waited for a situation when all three could be pinned down,” he added.

Asked whether Dawood Ibrahim or other underworld dons were involved, Kumar said, “it is difficult to name anybody unless we have a credible proof. There is no evidence on which basis I can name any member of the underworld…but it is sufficient to say that there is an overseas connection and we have definite proof. These three players knew each other and they knew that each of them was involved.”

Asked whether Australia’s Shaun Tait or any other player is involved, Kumar said “We have no such evidence. According to us, Shaun Tait is not involved.”

Kumar laughed off the allegations by Sreesanth’s parents that India skipper MS Dhoni conspired to frame Sreesanth.

“This is totally wrong. Dhoni did not put the towel in his trouser,” he quipped.

Kumar said the players and the bookies were being monitored since the beginning of IPL.

“We were tracking them since April. We allowed them to make mistakes…Mastermind is sitting abroad,” he said.

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