The fortunes of Vindoo Dara Singh, a habitual but unsuccessful bettor, changed after he became friends with Gurunath Meiyappan, Team Principal of Chennai Super Kings. “He became friends with Gurunath two years ago and, according to his confession, he had earned more than Rs.17 lakh in this IPL for the first time,” said a police officer investigating the case. Singh, also known in betting circles as Jack, had placed bets on matches all through the last five editions of the tournament and suffered heavy losses. “We have not drawn any conclusions. But we are investigating the reasons behind his sudden success,” an officer said.
Meanwhile, sources close to Mr. Meiyappan’s legal team said Mr. Srinivasan’s son-in-law has told the Mumbai Crime Branch that he would appear before it on Monday, a day after the finals of IPL-6, to be played in Kolkata on Sunday.
Earlier on Thursday morning, a four-member team of the Mumbai police led by Deputy Commissioner of Police (Detection) Satyanarayan Chowdhari arrived at the residence of Mr. Meiyappan only to find he was not present at the time. “We issued the summons to him at his residence and office in Chennai,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy.
Even as Mr. Meiyappan sought more time to appear before the Mumbai crime branch, the police are likely to call Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf for questioning.
While analysing the mobile phone calls of Vindoo, the police found that the Bollywood actor was in frequent touch with Mr. Meiyappan. Mr. Singh was also seen in the VIP stand of CSK during a match in Chennai, police sources said. According to sources, Mr. Singh was introduced to Mr. Meiyappan by a person who was closely associated with a popular Indian cricketer.
Officials said the actor has been mentioning the names of a number of famous personalities, including an actor, an actress, and a former cricketer-turned-commentator.
“He has been saying a lot of things about Gurunath and others. Unless we get a chance to question Gurunath, we won’t be able to confirm anything,” said an officer, adding that Mr. Singh said he would often place bets for Mr. Meiyappan.
In a related development, the Crime Branch-CID of the Tamil Nadu police, which investigates the betting scandal in Chennai, arrested Kitty alias Uttam Chunnilal Jain, one of the high-profile bookies who was on the run. The 35-year-old businessman had at least 30 punters, including some industrialists, who actively indulged in betting.
“A special team arrested Kitty on Thursday evening. The minimum betting he would entertain in his business was Rs. 50,000… Kitty is one of the most important bookies. Investigation has revealed that he activated several SIM cards using fake documents,” a CB-CID official told The Hindu.
The agency has so far arrested seven bookies in Chennai and efforts are on to apprehend a few others, including Sanjay Bafna who is believed to have gone to South Africa.