But Brad Hodge, Kevon Cooper and Siddharth Trivedi of Rajasthan Royals did not play ball
The betting syndicate that was able to snare Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila had approached three other Rajasthan Royals players — Brad Hodge, Kevon Cooper and Siddharth Trivedi — but the players had no hesitation in turning down the offers, Delhi Police said. The cricketers refused to attend a party thrown by the bookies to which they were invited.
During police interrogation, Ajit Chandila has reportedly disclosed that bookie Chandresh Patel had asked him to fix a meeting with other players. Chandila then allegedly contacted his teammates Brad Hodge, Kevon Cooper and Siddharth Trivedi and invited them to a party at the behest of the bookie, said a police officer. However, the officer said, the three players did not show any interest in the invitation.
Unable to deliver
The bookies were eager to rope in more players as Chandila was unable to deliver as per their expectations. He along with Chavan was dropped from two matches, during which they were allegedly supposed to concede a certain number of runs.
It is not known if the three players reported the matter to the team management. According to the International Cricket Council’s code of conduct, “players and/or team officials shall be required to report to their Captain and/or Team Manager or to a senior Board official or to the Anti Corruption and Security Unit any approach made to them by a bookmaker or any other corrupt approach or knowledge of such approach made to any other player or team official.”
Amit Singh, a former Rajasthan Royals cricketer-turned-bookie, who has also been arrested, has during the interrogation raised suspicion that one of the matches played in the 2012 edition of the tournament was fixed as a pair of recognised batsmen had failed to score 12 runs during the last two overs and lost the game.
All that the police have as evidence against the three cricketers and the 11 others are their recorded conversations and the video footage of the matches under the scanner. The police are yet to recover the money paid out before and after the spot-fixing. The Special Cell suspects that the money delivered to the players was immediately passed on to hawala operators and their conduits to evade detection. Searches at the hotel rooms of the accused also did not yield much.
The police have decided to invoke provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act on the bookies for their involvement in a series of betting and spot-fixing cases.
Based on investigations so far, the Special Cell believes that one of the main conduits, who had links with a Mumbai underworld gang led by fugitive Dawood Ibrahim, was operating from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Although calls had also been made from the United Kingdom, the police are focussing on those that originated from Pakistan and the UAE.
The police are trying to ascertain whether the bookies had fixed spots in other IPL-6 matches.
According to sources, Sreesanth tearfully confessed to his role stating that he committed a big mistake. He spent Tuesday night in a room inside the Lodhi Road Special Cell office.
Jiju Janardanan, the alleged conduit for Sreesanth, who had been dealing with the bookies on his behalf, is being probed for his suspected links with some bookies operating from the UAE. He had been playing in the UAE-based Kerala Premier League for the past couple of years.
For its part, the BCCI’s anti-corruption unit chief Ravi Sawani has also initiated an inquiry.