Indian police said yesterday they had arrested three cricketers including Test bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, after they allegedly accepted tens of thousands of dollars for spot-fixing.
Eleven bookmakers were also arrested in connection with the inquiry, said Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar, as he gave details of three games in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) at the center of the corruption probe.
Kumar told a news conference that more bookmakers were expected to be arrested as part of the inquiry which has already seen the accused players suspended by Indian cricket authorities.
Spot-fixing is an illegal activity where a specific part of a game, but not the outcome, is fixed.
Sreesanth, who has played 27 Tests for India, is alleged to have been paid 4 million rupees (US$75,000) to give away around 14 runs in an over while playing for the Rajasthan Royals against the Kings XI Punjab on May 9.
His teammate Ankeet Chavan had also allegedly agreed to give away the same number of runs in a match on Wednesday night against the Mumbai Indians in exchange for 6 million rupees, police said.
A third player, Ajit Chandila, was believed to have been paid 2 million rupees for giving away a set number of runs in a match between the Rajasthan Royals and the Pune Warriors, police said.
“This much money has exchanged hands. This money was given to them by the bookies,” Kumar told a press conference.
“The modus operandi included asking the bowlers to give pre-decided signals with the help of their accessories like watches, wrist bands, neck chains and towels,” he said. “The bowlers were asked to concede at least a given number of runs in a pre-determined and mutually decided over. After receiving the signal from the bowler, the bookies would bet heavily and make huge profits.”
Kumar said the fixing was organized by members of the Mumbai mafia, adding that the overall mastermind was “sitting abroad.”
“There is definite proof that the underworld is involved, but it would be wrong to take names. There is no concrete evidence on the basis of which I can name any member of the underworld,” he said.
Sreesanth, 30, and his two teammates, who have yet to play for India, were arrested by Delhi police in Mumbai after Wednesday night’s match and were brought to the national capital for questioning, Kumar said.