Delhi Police, in the wee hours of Thursday, arrested former India Test bowler S Sreesanth and his Rajasthan Royals teammates — Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila — and 14 bookies on suspicion of spot fixing in the ongoing IPL.
According to Delhi Police, they have obtained incriminating evidence of the trio manipulating matches. “We have 100 hours of phone recording in which assumed names are under scanner. The ultimate mastermind, however, is sitting overseas in an unknown location,” revealed Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar.
The latest of the three instances of spot fixing came during Rajasthan’s inconsequential encounter with Mumbai Indians on Wednesday, wherein Chavan promised to concede 14 runs in his second over for `60 lakh. The first instance was during Rajasthan’s match against Pune Warriors in Jaipur before it was repeated in their match against Kings XI Punjab in Mohali.
The BCCI immediately suspended the three cricketers and promised stringent punishment if they are found guilty, besides prompting its Anti-Corruption Unit to carry out a parallel investigation.
“The BCCI has zero tolerance to corruption. All information required to bring those involved to book will be gathered and strictest action will be taken, if found guilty,” promised BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale.
BCCI president N Srinivasan avowed that the sport is run clean. “The sport is clean and we are running it clean. One or two bad eggs here and there, but they cannot sully the entire game,” said Srinivasan.
The trio has been charged under IPC sections 420 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) and are being flown to Delhi for questioning. In a related development, Chavan and Chandila were suspended by their employer Air India.
Meanwhile, Sreesanth’s parents maintained that he was framed. “We are all totally convinced that he is innocent. God knows everything and my son will come out clean. He is not a person who runs after money,” said his mother Savithridevi. His lawyer said there isn’t any conclusive proof, though he and the two other players have been remanded in five days police custody.