New Delhi: On May 9, at a match between the Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals played at Mohali near Chandigarh, pacer S Sreesanth ran up to bowl an over with a towel tucked into the band of his trouser.
The Delhi Police allege that this was a signal to bookies that he would now fix an over. He had bowled the previous over without the towel. (Read: Delhi Police explains spot-fixing arrests)
The deal, the Delhi Police allege, was that Sreesanth would tuck the towel to indicate spot-fixing and then would give the bookies some time to place as many bets as possible. On field, Sreesanth had warmed up a bit before beginning to bowl the over. He gave away more than 14 runs, as allegedly fixed.
The Kerala cricketer, who has played for India, was arrested today and charged with spot-fixing. Betting is illegal in India. Two other Rajasthan players - Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan - along with 11 bookies have also been arrested. All 14 players have been sent to five-day police custody. Betting is illegal in India.
The police claim that over months of investigations they have gathered information on spot-fixing, primarily by intercepting phone conversations. The bookies and players, they say, have codes to indicate which over will be fixed.
Like the alleged towel code. Or the one that the police claim Ajit Chandila, another Royals player arrested today, forgot.
On May 5, when the Royals played the Pune Warriors at home in Jaipur, the police alleged that Chandila was paid an advance of Rs 20 lakh by bookies to fix an over. They have quoted from the phone transcript of an alleged conversation where Chandila said he would pull out his two T-shirts to indicate he was beginning a fixed over.
He duly bowled the over giving away 14 runs, the police alleged, but forgot to pull out his shirts. The police claim that there was an argument on the phone after a match, in which the bookie demanded his money back.
Ankeet Chavan, the third Royal player arrested today, was promised Rs. 60 lakh to give away 13 runs in an over of the match played on Wednesday, the police alleged.
Delhi Police Chief Neeraj Kumar said today that no players from other teams were involved. (Read)
At a press conference today, the police played video clips from the matches to support their allegations. (Watch)