Bookies disclosed names of several cricketers, say police
Pubs and late night parties in luxury hotels and resorts were the favourite meeting points for the bookies, their conduits and the players they had managed to co-opt into the spot-fixing racket during the Indian Premier League matches.
Mohammad Yahya, a spot-boy in Bollywood who was arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell in Hyderabad on Friday, has purportedly disclosed to his interrogators that he first met a bookie at a Mumbai pub a couple of years ago. The bookie introduced him to the others involved in the betting business. He gradually became a confidant for them to facilitate deals with cricketers.
Although Mr. Yahya and the other bookies have disclosed names of several cricketers, the police said they were yet to gather incriminating evidence against them.
“Chandresh Patel was one of the bookies who was in constant touch with Mr. Yahya. The bookie had asked him to contact cricketers on his behalf for spot-fixing during the IPL matches this year,” said a police officer, adding that complicity of the players whose names have cropped up has not been ruled out yet.
Mr. Yahya was on his way to board a flight to Dubai when he was arrested by a Special Cell team at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad.
While look-out circulars have been issued against several suspects in the case, the police suspect that several bookies were operating under pseudonym and hence, it would be difficult for them to establish their identities. “They use mobile phones and other communication devices such as laptops exclusively for the purpose of dealing with their conduits and handlers. The bookies use coded language to convey their messages. To evade detection, they do not use the same phones and gadgets for interaction with their relatives and friends. In such a scenario, it becomes difficult for us to establish their real identities,” said another officer.
As a precaution, the bookies frequently change phone sets and numbers and even destroy their other communication gadgets. “Mr. Yahya had recently used at least four different phone numbers to contact Chandresh,” said the officer.
In a related development, the police have received a request from the Board of Control for Cricket in India, seeking details on their findings during the ongoing probe in the spot-fixing case.