IPL scam reaches Bollywood, cricketers’ questioning on (Roundup)

Mumbai/New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) The Supreme Court Tuesday refused to ban remaining IPL matches while Bollywood actor Vindu Dara Singh Randhawa, a bookie and a hawala operator were arrested by Mumbai police in the spot fixing scam and investigators in Delhi got five more days to question cricketer S. Sreesanth.

Apart from arresting the actor and bookie Prem Taneja, Mumbai police Crime Branch also seized Rs.12.80 million in cash from the residence of the arrested hawala operator Alpesh Patel.

Lawyer for Vindu Dara Singh, 49, son of the celebrated wrestler-cum-actor Dara Singh, claimed in Mumbai the actor was being “implicated”.

Advocate Karan Mehta told reporters outside the Esplanade Magistrate’s court, Mumbai, shortly after Vindu was sent to police custody till May 24, that police had no evidence on the alleged involvement of his client in the scandal.

Mumbai Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy said the three accused taken into custody “are linked to those bookies whom we have already arrested and those who are wanted”.

Police said they were investigating whether any of the Pakistanis, who were in touch with the arrested bookies, had terror or crime syndicate links.

With Vindu’s arrest, Mumbai police have sounded the first knock on Bollywood, completing the cricket-underworld-Bollywood triumvirate in the betting and spot fixing scam that has hit the sixth edition of Indian Premier League (IPL-6).

In Delhi, a city court granted Delhi Police five more days’ custody of Sreesanth, his Rajasthan Royals teammates Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila and eight bookies.

Public Prosecutor Rajeev Mohan, appearing for Special Cell of Delhi Police, told the court: “They (accused) are needed for recovery of more spot fixing related money and equipments from various places.”

Metropolitan Magistrate Saumya Chauhan granted police custody of the players and the bookies till May 26 when they were presented in a packed courtroom at the end of their earlier police remand.

Delhi investigators said Sreesanth went on a shopping spree with the money he earned from spot fixing before the 15th match of IPL-6 and bought apparel worth Rs.1.95 lakh for himself from a Mumbai showroom and a mobile phone costing over Rs.40,000 for his girlfriend.

He wanted to quickly dispose of the cash which he got after fixing, a Delhi Police official said, adding that the cricketer paid cash for the costly items which be bought.

In the Supreme Court, a public interest petition seeking a ban on the remaining matches of the IPL-6 was rejected by the court but not before the judges slammed the Board of Control for Cricket in India for the spot fixing incidents.

The court said the scandal had taken place due to the board’s lackadaisical approach to reining in erring players.

Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice Dipak Misra rejected the plea seeking action against the IPL, saying that due to a few errant players the entire game cannot be banned.

Delhi Police arrested Sreesanth and his two teammates in a post-midnight operation in Mumbai May 16 and exposed the scandal.

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