Spot-Fixing: In 7 lucrative minutes on May 9, Sreesanth bowled 6 balls, bookie made Rs 2.5 cr / Actor Vindoo Dara Singh arrested in Mumbai

Indian Express

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IPL spot-fixing case: Actor Vindoo Dara Singh arrested in Mumbai

Bollywood actor Vindoo Randhawa, son of late wrestler-actor Dara Singh, was today arrested in connection with the IPL spot-fixing scandal, a Mumbai Crime Branch official said.

"Vindoo was questioned after he was found to be in contact with the bookies and subsequently arrested today," the official said without revealing further details.

Forty nine-year-old Vindoo, winner of reality television show Bigg Boss season 3, was on many occasions spotted watching IPL matches and attending post-match parties.

His arrest is the first from Bollywood in connection with the latest scandal to hit Indian cricket. It is not yet known if he was a link between IPL players and the bookies or was just into betting.

The Crime Branch, which is also probing the scandal apart from Special Cell of Delhi Police, had yesterday questioned a casting director who sent photographs of models to S Sreesanth and summoned a Telugu film producer having business links with the tainted India pacer.

The move came amid suspicion that honey traps could have been laid to lure cricketers into spot-fixing IPL matches.

The Special Cell of Delhi police had arrested Sreesanth, his Rajasthan Royals teammates Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan and Jiju on May 15 night for allegedly indulging in spot-fixing in at least three IPL matches.

Apart from electronic devices, including a laptop, Rs 72,000 cash, data card and diaries with entries in English and Malayalam, which appeared to be in Sreesanth’s handwriting, were also seized. Sreesanth’s laptop had dozens of photographs of models e-mailed to him by the casting director.

Spot-Fixing: In 7 lucrative minutes on May 9, Sreesanth bowled 6 balls, bookie made Rs 2.5 cr

S Sreesanth revealed the names of prominent India players who were reportedly lured by bookies through expensive gifts. (IE photo)

In the space of just seven minutes early in the evening on May 9, cricket bookie Chandresh Patel allegedly made Rs 2.5 crore. Those were the minutes that India pacer Sreesanth took to send down his second, allegedly fixed, over in Mohali, conceding a predetermined number of runs. Those were also the minutes in which Patel made his killing.

"The stakes were very high. Our investigations have revealed that Patel made Rs 2.5 crore in that over. Bookies like Patel and others have become rich overnight. We have evidence for this," Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar told The Indian Express in an interview on Monday.

Patel, who lives in Andheri (East) in Mumbai, is one of the 14 bookies arrested by Delhi Police for alleged spot-fixing in IPL matches in connivance with Sreesanth and his Rajasthan Royals teammates Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila. Patel is a property dealer who is believed to have invested his many crores in real estate in Maharashtra.

Kumar said Sreesanth’s interrogation had revealed he was unaware of his teammates’ involvement in the alleged racket. He was apparently under the impression that he was working alone, along with his friend and alleged bookie Jiju alias Biju Janardhanan.

"Sreesanth thought he was alone. He did not know that Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan were working their deals with different sets of bookies. Ankeet Chavan was fixed by Chandila and Amit Singh. We have a taped interception of Chandila demanding a cut for the May 15 match because he believed he had introduced the bookie to Chavan. Chavan was roped into spot-fixing by Chandila," Commissioner Kumar said.

The commissioner rubbished reports that underworld don Dawood Ibrahim or his aide Tiger Memon were directly involved in the spot-fixing operation. "At the moment we do not have any proof of these so called "underworld men" indulging in spot-fixing directly. In mid-March, when our officers were intercepting calls made by intermediaries for the underworld in the course of an anti-terrorist operation, they discovered that these intermediaries were talking to bookies. During these conversations, we overheard the names of these cricket players, after which we swung into action," he said.

Supreme Court rules out ban on IPL matches, slams BCCI over spot-fixing

The Supreme Court today refused to ban the remaining matches of the Indian Premier League in view of the spot-fixing scandal but lambasted the BCCI for its ’lackadaisical’ attitude to prevent such activities.

A bench of Justices B S Chauhan and Dipak Misra, while disposing of a PIL that had sought a ban on the matches and constitution of a special investigation team, asked the BCCI’s commissioner to conclude his inquiry within 15 days and submit its report.

The court said that "individual aberrations and errant behaviour" must be brought to the notice of the BCCI by its commissioner so that the Board could curb such activities and uphold the reputation of the game.

It asked the BCCI to take appropriate actions against the individual players as well as the team indulging in illegal activities in order to make sure the "gentleman’s game" keeps up its status.

The PIL had been filed by a Lucknow-resident in the wake of recent controversy of spot-fixing in the IPL, allegedly involving bowler S Sreesanth and other players.

Eighteen people - three IPL players, four former players and 11 bookies and their assistants - have been arrested since last Thursday in connection with the spot-fixing scandal that has rocked the cricketing world.

Sreesanth in custody, his ‘partner’ suffers loss as brand sinks before launch

IN the same week that cricketer S Sreesanth was arrested for alleged involvement in spot-fixing in IPL, he was set to promote a mineral water and apparel brand based in Tirupur, Tamil Nadu. The brand, S36, was scheduled to be launched last week but failed to take off due to Sreesanth’s arrest. The owner of the brand may now be questioned in connection with over 500 photographs of models found in the cricketer’s mail inbox.

According to Crime Branch sources, the photographs were found in Sreesanth’s email while the police were perusing the contents of his laptop. The sender of the photographs was identified as a casting director in Andheri. On being questioned, the casting director told the police about Sreesanth’s partnership with the brand S36.

"The casting director said he was contacted by Sreesanth and his partner a year ago. They asked him to send photographs of suitable models to advertise their brand S36... We have obtained the contact details of Sreesanth’s partner who, according to the casting director, is a film producer based in Hyderabad, and will be quizzing him as well," said a Crime Branch officer.

When contacted, Ayup Khan, the owner of S36 brand, told The Indian Express, "Sreesanth had agreed to promote the brand in exchange for a 15 per cent share of the profits. We had shot photographs for the brand, and were going to launch it last week. Nearly 40,000 bottles of the mineral water are now lying in the godown with no takers."

Khan, who has produced several films in Tamil Nadu, said he had taken heavy loans to invest in the project. He, however, vouched for the photographs in Sreesanth’s email. "We were going to shoot an ad film for the mineral water brand, and needed female models. I had outsourced the job of finding the models to a business associate who seems to have contacted the casting director," he said.
The Crime Branch is probing whether the girls were being used as honeytraps or conduits in the spot-fixing racket. "We will be checking if the casting director sent similar photographs to any other cricketers. His call data records will also be analysed to verify if he has been in touch with any bookies," said an officer.

Meanwhile, a Delhi Police team met Crime Branch chief Himanshu Roy and submitted a written request for sharing information obtained from Sreesanth’s room. However, the team did not seek permission to interrogate bookie Ramesh Vyas.

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