Rajasthan Royals team owner Raj Kundra confessed to the police of having placed bets on his own IPL team through friend-cum-bookie and business partner Umesh Goenka, Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said on Thursday. In the same breath, the Commissioner also said that any such disclosure to the police is not admissible as evidence before court.
“We cannot invoke provisions pertaining to betting as an offence against them at this stage, as it would require supporting evidence such as any recovery. However, since it is an ongoing investigation based on their statements and disclosures by Rajasthan Royals cricketer Siddharth Trivedi, the passports of both Mr. Kundra (a British citizen) and his business partner Goenka have been impounded to ensure that they are available to join the probe as and when found necessary,” said Mr. Kumar to The Hindu.
Siddharth Trivedi, whose statement was recorded a few days ago under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (making it admissible in evidence), has been made a prosecution witness in the spot-fixing case.
At a press briefing later on Thursday, a senior Special Cell officer said Mr. Kundra had through his business partner placed bets to the tune of nearly Rs. 1 crore during the past three years and claimed to have incurred huge losses. “He has disclosed that besides his own, he placed bets on other teams as well.”
“In his statement, which has also been recorded under Section 164 Cr.PC., Mr. Goenka has made a reference to Mr. Kundra’s wife Shilpa Shetty, claiming that he had once placed a bet on her behalf. Whether she was in the know or not has to be ascertained. Anyway, we do not deem it necessary to examine her in the near future as our focus is on the spot-fixing case,” he said.
Ms. Shetty has denied the charges against her and her husband. The police officer said Siddharth Trivedi had in his statement disclosed that Mr. Goenka was into betting and had also approached him once seeking information about the cricket pitch in Ahmedabad, the RR team formations and also on the winning probability of the two teams in question. “During questioning, Mr. Goenka disclosed that he was into betting for the past six years and had been placing bets on IPL cricket matches, also on behalf of Mr. Kundra, through bookies for the past three years,” said the officer, adding that Mr. Goenka corroborated the disclosures made by Trivedi as regards his activities.
“Based on his statement, we summoned Mr. Goenka for questioning during which he disclosed that he placed bets on behalf of Mr. Kundra,” said the officer.