Rajasthan Royals players Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Ankit Chavan and Ajit Chandilia, have been arrested by the Delhi Police on charges of spot-fixing in the IPL. All three players and bookies with their faces muffled were taken to additional metropolitan magistrate's residence in Saket, Delhi. The Delhi police have sought for 7-day police custody of Sreesanth and other accused arrested in the spot-fixing scandal case.
The Delhi police arrested seven bookies and are looking out for more. Bookies from Maharashtra have also been arrested on charges of spot-fixing.
TV reports further added that the players were even involved in spot fixing in Rajasthan Royals' match on Wednesday with Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium.
For Rs 40 lakh, ($72,900) Sreesanth agreed to concede 13 or more runs in his second over of a May 9 match at Mohali, Kumar told a news conference. As was agreed upon, Sreesanth tucked a towel in his waistband to signal to the bookie, giving him enough time to "indulge in heavy betting", Delhi Police commissioner Neeraj Kumar said.
"Sreesanth bowled the first over without the towel. In the second over, he put a towel in his trousers and then, in order to give bookies time to indulge in betting, he did some warming up, some stretching exercises, and then went on to give 13 runs," Kumar said.
Evidence has been found by Delhi police from tapping phones of several cricketers and bookies. This process of tapping phones has been going on for some time now as suspicion of spot-fixing has always been there.
According to the cops, the masterminds are sitting abroad and there is an underworld connection.
More players are also under the radar, say police sources.
Rajasthan Royals express shock about players' arrest in a statement.
"We have been informed that three of our players have been called in for investigation on spot fixing in matches. We are completely taken by surprise. We do not have the full facts at this point and are unable to confirm anything. We are in touch with the BCCI on this matter. We will fully cooperate with the authorities to ensure a thorough investigation. The management at Rajasthan Royals has a zero-tolerance approach to anything that is against the spirit of the game," the team statement said.
Sreesanth arrested from friend's house in Mumbai
The Delhi police's special cell arrested Sreesanth from his friend's house in Mumbai while the other two cricketers were arrested on Wednesday night from the team hotel at Nariman Point for their alleged role in spot-fixing.
The arrest took place immediately after the players returned to their team hotel, following their match against Mumbai Indians at Wankhede stadium. Mumbai won that match by 14 runs.
7 bookies in Mumbai, 3 in Delhi arrested
The police have also arrested seven bookies in Mumbai and three bookies in Delhi in connection with the same case. They are looking for two more bookies in Delhi.
The development is a shocker for the IPL authorities who have time and again grappled with controversies and scandals since the league was launched in 2008.
IPL Chairman Rajiv Shukla said he was waiting for details of the incident.
Rajasthan Royals CEO Raghu Iyer said that the three players were picked up by Delhi police last night and the team management was co-operating with the investigation.
"Rajasthan Royals has zero tolerance for corruption and we will take action, if charges are proved," he said.
Sreesanth has played 53 ODIs and 27 Tests for India.
The Rajasthan Royals franchise is owned by Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, her husband businessman Raj Kundra and Lachlan Murdoch.
What is spot-fixing?
Spot-fixing involves the manipulation of individual incidents within a match which may not affect the outcome of the contest, most famously exposed in a London trial and jailing of three Pakistan cricketers in 2011.
All three players charged with spot-fixing likely to be suspended from IPL
The spot-fixing case to be referred to Disciplinary Committee of the BCCI for further action, say BCCI sources.
The cricketers and bookies have been charged under sections 420 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and are being flown in to Delhi for further questioning.
Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar told a media agency via text message when asked if other players were involved, "not that we know of."
Investigators said besides telephone records, there was also evidences of messages passed through BBM and Whatapp.
BCCI released a statement on the IPL 2013 spot-fixing controversy.
This is what was released:
"The BCCI has zero tolerance to corruption. We will offer all cooperation to the Delhi police and all other authorities in their investigations in this matter. The IPL Governing Council has met and decided that the cricketers found involved will be dealt with severely.
As of now, the three players viz; Ankeet Chavan, Ajit Chandila and S Sreesanth stand suspended pending enquiry. All information required to bring the persons involved to book will be collected and strictest action will be taken, if found guilty.
The BCCI engages the services of the anti corruption wing of the ICC to educate and monitor players and support staff in prevention of corruption of any form in the game. In fact, it is wholly unfortunate that despite such education, best playing conditions and terms of engagement offered, some players seem to be indulging in such activity."
Lalit Modi, IPL founder asked: Why was the BCCI and ICC anti corruption not vigilant?
Last year also five players were suspended on spot fixing charges. The players were, TP Sudhindra (Deccan Chargers), Mohnish Mishra (Pune Warriors), Amit Yadav, Shalabh Srivastava (Kings XI Punjab) and Abhinav Bali.
It is not the first time that Sreesanth is at the centre of a controversy in the IPL.
The temperamental paceman was involved in the infamous 'slapgate' in 2008.
He was slapped by India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and TV cameras caught Sreesanth crying. However, very recently Sreesanth claimed that he was never slapped but elbowed by the 'turbanator'.
In the 2012 season, Australia's Luke Pomersbach was arrested for allegedly misbehaving with the woman, a US citizen of Indian origin, at the Maurya Sheraton Hotel.
A case was registered against him under various sections of IPC including section 354 of IPC (outraging modesty of woman), 323 (hurt), 454 (lurking house trespass) and 511 (Punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonment).
Then Bollywood star and co-owner of Kolkata Knight Riders Shah Rukh Khan was involved in an altercation with security officials and MCA imposed a five-year ban on him for entering the Wankhede stadium.
In another controversy, Kochi Tuskers Kerala franchise was terminated by the BCCI for breaching its terms of agreement, in 2011.