Gurunath Meiyappan sent to police custody till May 29

Mumbai, May 25 (IANS) A magistrate here Saturday sent Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of BCCI chief N. Srinivasan to police custody till May 29 in connection with the IPL spot fixing scam.

He was produced before the Metropolitan Magistrate Court in south Mumbai a little more than 12 hours after he was formally placed under arrest a little after midnight Friday.

The police sought seven days custodial interrogation for Meiyappan which was strongly opposed by his lawyer H.S. Ponda.

Ponda argued that Meiyappan had willingly come down to help with the police probe and it was not proper to place him under arrest.

The police said that they had recovered four mobiles from Meiyappan which they needed to investigate to ascertain his role in the spot-fixing scam.

Besides, the investigators had taped some telephone conversations Meiyappan had with bookies and the police wanted to match his voice samples.

The police also said that a team of investigators would be sent to Chennai for further investigations in the case.

Earlier in the afternoon, Meiyappan was quietly whisked off to the magistrate’s court through a rear exit of the Mumbai police headquarters to avoid the huge media contingent waiting outside the main entrance.

Meiyappan, who was summoned by Mumbai police before 5 pm Friday, rushed here post-haste by a chartered flight from Madurai and walked into the arms of the waiting team of crime branch sleuths at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport domestic terminal late yesterday evening.

Subsequently, he was taken to the Crime Branch headquarters near Crawford Market in south Mumbai and grilled for three hours by the investigators.

Around midnight, Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy announced that the police had sufficient evidence over his role in the spot fixing scam and he was placed under arrest.

Among other things, he was questioned about his role and involvement in the spot-fixing scam, his betting habits and links, whether he indulged in betting and had reportedly lost around Rs.10 million at the behest of Bollywood actor Vindoo Dara Singh Randhawa, who is also in police custody.

He was also confronted with the evidence available with the police and the details of investigations of Vindoo and other bookies already in custody.

Meiyappan’s arrest marks a course-changing twist in the ongoing IPL-6 spot-fixing scam busted exactly 10 days ago with the arrest of three Rajasthan Royals cricketers Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, by the Delhi police in Mumbai.

Moving swiftly, the Mumbai police last week nabbed six bookies, Ramesh Vyas, Pandurang Kadam, Pravin Bera, Pankaj Shah, Ashok Vyas and Neeraj, who remain in custody.

After Vindoo’s interrogation, police nabbed a bookie Prem Taneja and a hawala operator Alpesh Patel and recovered Rs.12.80 million cash from his house.

The biggest shock came in the form of Meyiappan’s arrest, a clear indicator that the IPL scam noose was crawling to the top echelons of the country’s top cricket authority.

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