He knew about pitch conditions and team strategies, say police

The Crime Branch-CID of the Tamil Nadu police on Monday arrested Chennai-based hotelier Vikram Agarwal after interrogating him for a whole day in connection with the IPL betting scandal.

Mr. Agarwal had “very good information” about pitch conditions and team strategies of IPL teams and he used them for betting, sources in the CB-CID said.

Accusing Mr. Agarwal of having close links with bookie Uttam C. Jain alias Kitty, who has been arrested, investigators said he indulged in gambling and allowed the bookie to use a room in his hotel for betting. “He is closely associated with Gurunath Meiyappan of Chennai Super Kings. The hotelier had access to some confidential information pertaining to pitch conditions and strategies of teams… At some point of time we have to interrogate Gurunath Meiyappan in this case,” a CB-CID officer told The Hindu.

Though Kitty operated from Hotel Raddison Blu here during IPL matches, there was no record of his booking a room. “Even if a complimentary room was given, mandatory taxes should have been paid… While senior hotel management staff have given a statement that Kitty was frequenting the premises and using room no. 724, Mr. Agarwal claims that he, as Managing Director of the hotel, was using it.”

The officer said Mr. Agarwal had made hundreds of calls to a mobile phone number. Investigation revealed that the number belonged to a person in Tirunelveli who had lost his mobile about six months ago.

“Now the number is in switched-off mode… we have to investigate who used the SIM card and why so many calls were made by the hotelier. There is no evidence yet to indicate spot- or match-fixing. Kitty, who conducted the betting, made at least Rs. 15 crore in the last two IPL seasons. The quantum of the profit share that went to the hotelier is being inquired into,” the officer said.

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