The parallel but inverse investigations of the Mumbai Crime Branch and the Delhi Police into the Indian Premier League spot-fixing allegations might be working at cross-purposes. With both the police teams probing and making arrests in the case, confusion and confrontation have set the tempo for the investigation.
After the Crime Branch raided a suburban hotel where Sreesanth stayed before his arrest by the Delhi cops, the latter arrived at Trident hotel at Marine Drive to check CCTV footage. There seems to be no coordination between the two agencies, rued officials. The Mumbai cops have seized Sreesanth’s laptop and iPad from his room in Sofitel hotel in Bandra-Kurla Complex. The sleuths found several photos of aspiring models in his laptop. They also found a photo of Sreesanth with notorious bookie Jupiter.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police team visited the Trident on Sunday to ask for the CCTV footage. “There is no coordination between the Delhi and Mumbai police, which will ultimately hamper investigations. Bookie Ramesh Vyas who is wanted by the Delhi Police is with Mumbai cops, while Jupiter, the notorious bookie wanted by the Mumbai cops, is with the Delhi Police,” said a source.
To make matters more volatile, the Crime Branch is likely to ask for Sreesanth’s custody from the Delhi Police soon. “The iPad we have seized does not have anything as it was recently bought but Sreesanth’s laptop has photos and contact numbers of various players and people,” Crime Branch officials said, adding that they are trying to identify the contacts.
Cyber aid enlisted
The Crime Branch has now summoned the person who allegedly used to supply girls to the players to question whether the players paid him or was it somebody else. Sreesanth and (bookie) Jiju often visited nightclubs in the Bandra-Andheri patch, said the police. Officials are taking help from cyber experts to access the G-mail and Facebook accounts of Sreesanth to find more details about him.
“We also found condoms in his room. We have asked for CCTV footage from the hotel lobby and are likely to get it soon. Two rooms were booked in Sofitel hotel in BKC and around Rs 9,000 was paid per day for them,” said police officers from the Crime Branch. Cops are likely to question officials of Tamarind Tours and Travels, the agency that booked the rooms.
A team of senior police inspector Nandkumar Gopale under the guidance of Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy and Additional Commissioner of Police Niket Kaushik had carried out the raid at the hotel.
A day before he was found dead under mysterious circumstances last week, Delhi Police Inspector Badrish Dutt had filed a police complaint that spot fixing was to take place in the multi-crore IPL tournament and players would under-perform during agreed upon overs in exchange for huge amounts.
Dutt filed the FIR in the case just a day before his and his live-in-partner’s bodies were discovered in their Gurgaon flat May 10. They had received bullet injuries to their temple. The mysterious death of Dutt and his companion is being investigated by Gurgaon police.
Dutt, an officer of the Delhi Police Special Cell, had traced the telephonic conversation about spot-fixing between the bookies who reportedly were working on the instructions of the Mumbai underworld. On the basis of this input provided by Dutt, an FIR was lodged on May 9 without naming any bookies.
According to the FIR, “Match fixers and bookies from Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, etc and some players participating in this IPL tournament have joined together to indulge in spot and match-fixing.” The FIR also said that the Special Cell received information in the third week of April that members of the underworld were involved in some sort of fixing in the ongoing IPL with active participation of some unidentified conduits based in Delhi.