IPL scam: Sreesanth’s phones, laptops seized; arrested quizzed jointly

Mumbai/New Delhi, May 18 (IANS) Intensifying the probe into the IPL spot fixing scam, Mumbai police Saturday seized mobiles, iPhones and laptops of cricketer S. Sreesanth and his bookie relative, while Delhi Police quizzed the three arrested players jointly and a BCCI investigator joined the proceedings.

Police are also scanning the diaries of Sreesanth which contain significant information pertaining to the scam, Mumbai’s Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy told media persons in Mumbai.

One more bookie, Pravin Bera, was arrested from Mumbai Saturday, taking the total number of bookies arrested from the city and other parts of the country to 12, besides the three cricketers – Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankit Chavan, all playing for the Rajasthan Royals.

Roy said that Mumbai police are contemplating seeking custodial investigation of the three players who were nabbed by Delhi Police’s Special Cell from a Mumbai five-star hotel three days ago, blowing the lid off the sensational scam.

“We are also scanning the CCTV footage of the hotel (where Sreesanth stayed with his relative, bookie Jiju Janardhan) to find out who they met during their stay there,” Roy said, adding that police will reconstruct the sequence of events in the hotel till Sreesanth’s arrest.

Roy said that from one of the arrested bookies, investigators came across a rich haul of 92 mobile phones – among which some 30 were used to make conference calls to bookies in India, Pakistan and Dubai, 18 SIM cards, account books, laptops, etc.

“We have several more bookies wanted in connection with this scam,” he said, hinting at more arrests.

In New Delhi, the three arrested players were again questioned but now in each others’ presence, an official said.

The suspects confessed their crime but blamed each other for dragging them into spot fixing, police sources said.

The three were brought before each other in a room in the Special Cell office in Lodhi Colony in south Delhi and questioned for two hours under the supervision of Special Commissioner of Police S.N. Srivastava, the sources said.

This was the first occasion when the three players were confronted with each other. They were questioned separately Friday, police said.

For Sreesanth, it has been two sleepless nights and no bath as the disgraced cricketer was not “comfortable” with the bathroom. Alone in a small cell, he looked depressed and broke down often during questioning, Delhi Police sources said Saturday.

“On the first day, he shared the cell with his teammates. But now he is alone. He has not slept for the past two days,” the official told IANS under condition of anonymity.

“When we again questioned him today (Saturday) about his involvement in spot fixing, he broke down. He looks very glum, depressed and often cries,” said the official, who is among those questioning the cricketer.

“When we are not questioning him, he behaves normally and speaks to us. And laughs sometimes. Then he sobers up when he realises where he is,” the officer added.

“As he was not comfortable with the bathroom of the police cell, he did not take a bath,” the officer said.

During a separate interrogation Saturday, 11 bookies, all of whom are in police custody, were also brought before each other, sources said.

Delhi Police also approached the SET Max channel to get the raw footage of all the three IPL matches – played on May 5, 9 and 15 – that were spot fixed.

They said that they are sharing the information with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

“A BCCI investigator today (Saturday) approached us and the information related with the case were shared,” said a Delhi Police officer.

Delhi Police also conducted raids in several cities including Mumbai and Ahmedabad to track the money trail in the racket, sources said.

Chandila’s house in Haryana’s Faridabad, adjoining Delhi, was also raided. However, his family members were not present and the house was locked.

A police official said after the fixing, the first instalment of money was delivered to Chandila’s house.

“The first match was spot fixed for Rs.40 lakh and Rs.20 lakh were paid. The second for Rs.40 lakh in which Sreesanth got Rs.10 lakh from Janardhan while the third match was fixed for Rs.60 lakh but no money was delivered to player,” the officer said.

In Chennai, Tamil Nadu Police said they expect to achieve a breakthrough soon in the cricket betting case in which six bookies were arrested Friday.

“We expect to achieve break through in the case soon. We also raided three premises here Saturday,” a senior official of at Crime Branch-Crime Investigation Department (CBCID), who did not want to be named, told IANS.

Mumbai police are meanwhile keen to invoke the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) on all the accused, currently facing charges for cheating and criminal conspiracy, after complying with the necessary pre-conditions, Roy said.

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