IPC Section 409 slapped on all accused; it carries a maximum punishment of life imprisonment

Arrested Indian pace bowler S. Sreesanth and 10 others, including two players of Rajasthan Royals, were remanded for five more days in the police custody. The Delhi Police have booked all the accused under Section 409 of the Indian Penal Code (criminal breach of trust by agent), which carries a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

Metropolitan Magistrate Saumya Chauhan extended the police custody of Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila till May 26. The court also sent four arrested bookies — Rakesh Oberoi, Dipit Garg, Ajay Goel and Amit Gupta — to judicial custody in Tihar Central Jail till June 4 after the Delhi Police Special Cell said their custodial interrogation had been completed.

The police produced in court the 14 suspects and the 15th accused in the case, former Ranji player Baburao Yadav, who was arrested on Tuesday morning. Three other bookies accused in the case are in police custody.

The police told the court that they were analysing the recorded conversations of players and bookies. Voice samples of the accused had been taken to match them with the recorded conversations.

Additional Public Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan told the magistrate that during the investigation several new names had cropped up and their details would be submitted to the court in a sealed cover on Wednesday.

Senior advocate Rebecca John, appearing for Sreesanth, opposed the plea for police remand saying no ground was made out for seeking his further custody. She said the agency had made all recoveries and confronted all the accused with one another for the past five days.

On the invocation of IPC Section 409, Mr. Mohan said Sreesanth had signed a contract for Rs.1.84 crore with Rajasthan Royals and his actions had violated the terms of the contract. He said this amount was fixed as per his “past experience and his match-winning abilities and it was an exclusive contract which granted him playing rights and performing rights and the agreement did not allow performance for individual gain.”

Ms. John responded to this charge saying Section 409 was wrongly made out against Sreesanth. Ms. John said Sreesanth was not entrusted with any property, or with any dominion over property, if he was to be charged under this offence.

Counsel for Jiju Janardanan questioned the alleged recoveries made from a Mumbai hotel by the police. “When he was arrested, no recoveries were made. After three days, the Mumbai police claim to have made some recoveries from hotels. It is very suspicious,” counsel said.

The prosecutor said that from one of the arrested bookies, Ramakant Aggarwal, the police had recovered 30 mobiles, 51 telephones and several betting slips. The police had recorded conversations of players and bookies to make a strong case.

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