In what could emerge as yet another match-fixing scandal to hit the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) – following the 2013 spot-fixing case that led to the arrest of cricketers S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan – three suspected bookies were arrested from Kanpur on Thursday.
Police arrested the bookies from the Landmark Hotel in Kanpur, which had hosted the Delhi Daredevils and Gujarat Lions teams during their IPL clash on 10 May.
According to multiple reports, Rs 40.90 lakh in cash and five mobile phones were recovered from the suspects. Kanpur’s superintendent of police, Akash Kulhari, identified the suspects as Ramesh Nayan Shah, a businessman from Thane Mumbai, Ramesh Kumar and Vikas Chauhan – both residents of Kanpur.
Moreover, Shah had allegedly disclosed the names of two players of Gujarat Lions, with whom he was in touch, during police interrogation. He had also allegedly sent a WhatsApp message, claiming that both the players were ‘set’ and will do as asked, as per police sources.
In one WhatsApp message, Shah had allegedly mentioned that Gujarat Lions would lose the match even after scoring 200 runs. Police are withholding the names of the two players.
Shah and Vikas were arrested from a room on the 17th floor of the city’s only five-star hotel. The third accused, Ramesh, was arrested from the Green Park stadium, the SSP said.
It has been learnt from BCCI sources that Ramesh, who was a part of the logistics team, had “promised” the bookie Shah that he had contacts among groundsmen, who can pour more water on the 22-yard surface to tinker with the playing conditions.
“Although Ramesh had nothing to do with pitch preparation activity, he had bragged to the bookie that his access to Green Park groundsmen will help him tamper with the pitch. Additional water would make the pitch damp and it would be a low-scoring affair,” a BCCI source said.
However, in the match, Gujarat Lions scored 196 and Daredevils chased the target off the last delivery in a high-scoring affair. After it turned out to be a high-scoring match, Ramesh told Shah that despite his arrangements, the scoring pattern wasn’t affected.
“The Anti-Corruption Unit of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been tracking activities of certain individuals, as a result of which, three suspects were arrested in Kanpur, on Thursday,” read the official statement from the BCCI.
“Following this operation, the Uttar Pradesh Police Crime Branch could successfully foil the alleged betting attempts of the accused,” the BCCI said.
According to the Kanpur police, Kumar stayed in accommodations at the stadium and sent pitch reports to his two associates at the hotel. Based on the inputs about the pitch, Shah and Vikas took bets, he said, adding that close-up pictures of the pitch were found from a mobile phone seized from Kumar.
The Delhi Police had recently arrested six people and had claimed to have busted an IPL gambling racket from Farsh Bazar area of Shahdara.
Police sources revealed that they received information about betting on the IPL match between Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders on 9 May.