Even as the Tamil Nadu police picked up Chennai-based hotelier Vikram Aggrawal on Monday morning for questioning over his alleged involvement in IPL betting, the Mumbai police said they would soon serve a summons on Mr. Aggrawal.
According to Mumbai police sources, the hotelier’s name popped up repeatedly during the interrogation of both Gurunath Meiyappan, the team principal of Chennai Super Kings, and Bollywood actor Vindoo Dara Singh. “We have enough reason to question him and hence we will be calling him here,” said an investigating officer.
Mr. Aggrawal, who owns hotel Radisson Blu, has been a close friend of the CSK boss for the last 15 years. It was Mr. Aggrawal who introduced Vindoo Dara Singh to Mr. Meiyappan.
“Around 7.30 a.m. on Monday, Aggrawal was picked up by plainclothesmen from his residence at Adyar. No arrest has been recorded, nor was he produced before a magistrate. My client’s phone is unreachable,” said Abudu Kumar Rajaratnam, Mr. Aggrawal’s advocate.
Vikram Aggrawal, also known as ‘Victor’ in betting circles, is believed to have placed bets ranging from Rs. 25 lakh to Rs. 1 crore on many IPL ties. He had used his wife’s SIM card and made over 100 calls to place the bets in connivance with Vindoo, police sources said.
Around 7 p.m., the Mumbai Police carried out searches at Hotel Raddison Blu.
Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu Crime Branch-CID arrested key bookie Sanjay Kumar Bafna (50) after he landed at the Chennai Airport on a flight from South Africa. He fled the country after the scam had broken out.
Police sources said Mr. Bafna was the key link in the Chennai-based booking syndicate and had close links with bookie Kitty alias Uttam Chand who was arrested by the Chennai police earlier. Bafna’s residence in Kelly’s was raided and cheques worth Rs. 50 lakh, mobile phones, computers and other equipment were seized. He was remanded in judicial custody till June 10 and locked in Puzhal prison.
Investigators suspect hotelier Bafna has close links with Vikram Aggrawal, associated with Mr. Meiyappan and Vindoo.
In another development, the Mumbai police have obtained a production warrant for Ashwin Jaynarayan Aggrawal alias Tinku Mandi, a bookie currently in the custody of the Delhi Police.
According to police sources, Tinku was in touch with Ramesh Vyas, a bookie arrested by the Mumbai police on May 14 along with Vindoo. The Mumbai police on Tuesday will be asking for custody of Tinku.
Two more bookies were arrested from Pune by the Mumbai Police. Divesh Sharma and Kishor Pablani were allegedly in contact with their counterparts in Pakistan.
According to the police, Vyas diverted calls from Pakistan to the mobile set used by these two bookies to take bets from them. The particular mobile phone through which Vyas and another wanted bookie were in touch has also been recovered. Both bookies have been sent to police custody till June 1.
Clues in yacht
A police team from Mumbai on Monday completed its search of the house of Mr. Meiyappan and his 70-foot-long yacht. Three mobile phones, two from his house and one from his yacht, were recovered.
“The mobile recovered from the yacht was the one we were looking for and that number appears in the call data records available with us,” said an officer. Out of the three SIM cards recovered from him, one is in the name of AVM productions, another in CSK’s name and the third was in his own name.
Police have also recovered a diary from Mr. Meiyappan’s house, which mentions the names of 10-12 players of different IPL teams, including those of CSK. The diary also carries a few notes about team strategy. Another important document recovered is a printed form given to only those who appear for team auctions. “This document is not available for all. It is given only to those important people of the management who appear for the auction,” said the officer. Police have also recovered 47 yellow and black CSK T-shirts from his house.
“The mobile recovered from Meiyappan’s yacht was the one we were looking for and that number appears in the call data records (CDR) available with us,” Mumbai Police.