Mumbai/New Delhi: Cricketer S Sreesanth had independently checked into a five-star hotel in suburban Mumbai on May 13, alongwith friend and alleged bookie Jiju Janardhan, just two days before they were arrested over allegations of spot-fixing in the ongoing edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the Mumbai Police said today. Jiju is the person who was allegedly dealing with other bookies on Sreesanth's behalf, police sources have said.
Here are the big developments in the case:
- The Mumbai Police, which raided the hotel on Friday night, recovered a laptop, mobile phones, iPads and cash worth Rs 72,000 from the two rooms in which Sreesanth and Jiju were staying. Diaries, written in English and Malayalam, were also recovered from the cricketer's room; cops say several of the entries were made by Sreesanth himself. (Read: Highlights of Mumbai Police press conference)
- The seized items, the police say, could offer vital clues in the spot-fixing case. Cops are also examining footage from close circuit television (CCTV) cameras fitted at the hotel for possible leads.
- The Mumbai Police has also arrested six bookies including Ramesh Vyas, which it says is a "prized catch." Vyas, according to police sources, has links with Sunil Dubai, an alleged mediator between bookies and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's brother Anees Ibrahim. 32 of the 92 phones seized during Vyas's arrest, in fact, had been used for calls, several which have been traced to Dubai and Pakistan. (Read: The D-gang connection)
- The bookie's arrest could help cops track the source of funds which, sources say, could have been routed through hawala channels, which has brought the involvement of the Mumbai underworld under the scanner.
- Earlier, sources in the Delhi Police had said that Sreesanth and Ankeet Chavan, his Royals teammate who was also arrested, had been offered Rs 40 lakh and Rs 60 lakh respectively. Ankeet was paid some money in advance, and he spent a part of it, sources add. The money is yet to be recovered.
- Teams of Delhi Police's special cell have already been sent to Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, and Kolkata to conduct searches and track the money trail in the spot-fixing case. One of them went to the residence of Rajasthan Royals player Ajit Chandila - who was also arrested - in the Delhi suburb of Faridabad for interrogation.
- The cricketers, sources in the Delhi Police say, were willingly participating in spot-fixing. (Read) On Friday, the Delhi Police had said that the trio, during their interrogation, had confessed to spot-fixing in this edition of the IPL. However, these confessions are not admissible in a court of law as they have not been recorded before a magistrate.
- Sources now say all matches involving the Royals in this edition of the IPL are being looked at closely. In fact, the match between Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders on May 3 was also to be fixed, according to sources; the tainted trio, though, did not negotiate for the said match.
- The IPL management has said that the "harshest punishment will be meted out" to those found guilty. "BCCI working committee will meet tomorrow in Chennai and the course of action will be decided after the preliminary report is submitted," IPL Commissioner Rajiv Shukla said.
- The Delhi Police has also interrogated Amit Singh, a former Rajasthan Royals player who the police suspect was the middleman between bookies and players. He, along with 10 bookies, were arrested on Thursday. Nine more have been arrested in Tamil Nadu since.