The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked Maharashtra government to file an affidavit within three weeks detailing investigations carried out by the Mumbai Crime Branch in the case of match fixing and betting in Indian Premier League cricket matches.
The direction was given by a Bench headed by Justice P.V. Hardas which heard a PIL filed by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar asking for a joint probe by central agencies such as Income Tax department, Enforcement Directorate and CBI, into the alleged nexus of cricket players with bookies.
Public Prosecutor Aruna Kamat Pai made a statement that the Crime Branch, Detection of Crime Branch, CID and the property cell department had carried out investigations and filed chargesheet in a local court in Mumbai. Police would soon file supplementary charge sheet in this case, she submitted.
The judges then told the government to file an affidavit to inform what had been done in this matter and what more steps the Crime Branch proposed to take. Only after hearing the Crime Branch about the progress on investigations, will the High Court consider the plea on transfer of probe to central agencies, the judges said.
The petitioner prayed that the Crime Branch be directed to register a case of cheating against players and bookies who had allegedly developed nexus with vested interests for “fixing matches or promoting betting in IPL matches”.
The PIL alleged that offences had been committed in the context of match fixing during IPL 2013 and also urged a direction to ED, IT department as well as Mumbai police and Delhi police to co-operate with the CBI which should take up the role of co-ordinating these investigations.
The petitioner said that on a request by the central government, the CBI had earlier conducted a preliminary inquiry into the alleged nexus of players with bookies. This report should culminate in the filing of an FIR if offences had been committed. However, this had not been done, the PIL said.
When the IPL scam broke this year, some bookies’ names had cropped up during investigations conducted separately by Delhi police and Mumbai police, the PIL said, adding that a central and independent agency like the CBI must be directed to probe the alleged cricket match fixing and betting.