Chavan confesses to spot-fixing, but families say they are innocent

New Delhi, May 17 (IANS) Even as cricketer Ankeet Chavan reportedly confessed to spot-fixing in IPL matches, the families and lawyers of the three arrested Rajasthan Royals players, including fast bowler S. Sreesanth, Friday maintained they were innocent.

According to police, the three accused, have been kept at the Lodhi Colony special cell of Delhi Police.

The first to break down was Chavan, a senior police official told IANS.

“He broke down when we questioned him. He accepted that he made a mistake. He also accepted his role in the spot-fixing,” he added.

The three Indian Premier League (IPL) players were Thursday remanded to five days’ police custody after their arrest in Mumbai late the previous day.

But the official said Chavan’s other two teammates — Sreesanth and Ajit Chandila — have, however, not yet accepted the charges.

Chavan’s family and lawyers claimed the cricketer was innocent.

“It is said that small fish are easier to catch, that is what has happened here too,” Chavan’s brother said.

“He is innocent, we know that. He has struggled a lot,” he told reporters.

Deepak Prakash, Sreesanth’s lawyer, said: “Sreesanth has been falsely or mistakenly arrested. They (Delhi Police) have got some wrong information or mistakenly arrested him.”

Asked about Chavan’s confession, he said: “They (players) have to confess before the court. Police can say anything, it has no value at all.

“Anyway, Sreesanth has not confessed. Though his name has been involved, there is no issue with Sreesanth. He will fight it out,” Prakash told reporters outside the special cell office.

The third cricketer’s lawyer Rakesh Kumar, however, accused the Delhi Police of framing the cricketer.

“He is innocent, there is no evidence against him. It is a cooked-up story by police. It is a scandal,” Kumar said.

“Delhi Police is deliberately raking the controversy to divert media attention from other issues. Unlawful and illegal procedures were adopted to tape his conversations,” he said.

Delhi Police said more teams have been sent to other states to conduct raids.

Besides the three cricketers, Delhi Police also arrested 11 bookies for alleged spot-fixing.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, meanwhile, congratulated Delhi Police for the investigation.

“I congratulate the Delhi Police. Whenever they do good work, I appreciate them,” he said on the sidelines of a function here.

Asked about the underworld link in the betting racket, he said: “Police is investigating, it is a preliminary comment.”

Police said Pakistani links and the involvement of the Mumbai underworld have surfaced in the investigations.

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