Four more persons, including a friend of cricketer Sreesanth, were arrested here in the IPL spot-fixing scandal even as investigators conducted searches for apprehending more bookies involved in the case, police said today.
With this, 26 people, including Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankit Chavan, have been arrested in the scandal since May 16 when it came to light.
Sreesanth's friend Abhishek Shukla, who allegedly helped in hiding the cricketer's money and some articles soon after his arrest, was among the four fresh arrests, a senior police official said.
Shukla, who joined investigations yesterday, has been charged under section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) and taken to Mumbai for recovery of articles and money owned by Sreesanth which he had hidden, sources said.
"We have accounted for Rs 5 lakh out of the Rs 10 lakh Sreesanth got for alleged spot-fixing. Shukla has allegedly hidden the remaining amount belonging to Sreesanth as well as Jiju Janardhan, the cricketer's friend.
"Soon after Sreesanth's arrest, Jiju made a call to Shukla asking to clean up Sreesanth's room," the official said.
The three other arrested were linked to Chandila, another Rajasthan Royal player already in police custody. Their arrest came following Bhupender Nagar, a bouncer, landing in police net.
The three have been identified as Vicky Chowdhury, a bouncer who allegedly introduced Chandila to two alleged punters, Nitin Jain and Vinod Sharma, who owns a property dealing firm. Jain also owns a factory which makes a chemical used in the manufacturing of blankets and pillows.
Vicky is the friend of Nagar, chief security officer of two night clubs in the capital. It was Nagar who took Chandila to Vicky, who sought contacts with cricketers on behalf of two bookies, police said.
The bookies along with Nagar and Vicky met Chandila in Jaipur before a match between KKR and RCB in Ranchi in the second week of May.
The bookies asked him who will win the match and Chandila told them that KKR will win, which eventually happened, they said.
This triggered suspicion that the match could have been fixed but Delhi Police said they have no evidence to substantiate it.
Before the match, bookies offered Rs 30 lakh to Chandila and paid Rs two lakh as advance, police claimed.
However, the bookies refused to pay the remaining amount claiming that they incurred a loss due to the low-scoring match.
Later they agreed to pay another Rs 5 lakh and gave it to Vicky but he did not give the amount to Chandila, they said, adding instead this money was shared between Vicky and Nagar.
Sources also said Malayalam actor Rajiv Pillai was with Sreesanth at the time of the cricketer's arrest in Mumbai on May 16. However, police said Pillai has no role in spot-fixing.
"After Sreesanth went out of the hotel, Jiju also came out. When we arrested the cricketer, we found out that Jiju is also out. So we made Pillai call Jiju to the spot. Then we arrested Jiju," the official said.
In between the arrests of Sreesanth and Jiju, the latter allegedly made a call to Shukla to clean up the cricketer's room.
Contrary to Mumbai Police's claims, Delhi Police also said they have no evidence to link arrested actor Vindoo Dara Singh to Sreesanth.