Mumbai police casting net for runaway Rauf

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RaufMumbai, September 15;There could be trouble ahead for Pakistani cricket umpire Asad Rauf, with the Mumbai police likely to name him as a “wanted accused” in its charge sheet in the IPL spot fixing case.

The charge sheet is expected to be filed next week against Chennai Super Kings owner Gurunath Meiyappan, Bollywood actor Vindu Dara Singh and 19 bookies. Rauf’s name came up in the case once the police arrested Vindu but he fled India. Vindu and Meiyappan were arrested in May and released on bail in June.

The police claim they have incriminating evidence against Rauf in the form of telephone transcripts. The Mumbai crime branch, which is probing the case, had put Vindu’s phone under surveillance since the first week of April and tapped it for most of the IPL season.

In one of the conversations tapped in April, the umpire is allegedly heard talking to Vindu about his upcoming birthday. The actor assures him he will soon receive his “gift,” police sources say. In another conversation tapped subsequently, Vindu apparently discussed Rauf’s gift with Pawan Jaipur, a bookie wanted in the case.

In the phone transcripts, Rauf lso allegedly asks Vindu for a bill for the gold chain which was to be gifted to him. With a bill, he hoped to avoid problems in airport customs clearance, the police say. However, Vindu alerted Rauf a day before he was arrested. Rauf then fled India and never received the gift or the bill. But the transcript will be used as evidence against him, police sources say.

“We have transcripts of conversations between Vindu Dara Singh and Rauf. Also, of conversations between Vindu and Pawan. In the conversation, Pawan informs Vindu that Rauf could collect the ‘gifts’ in Delhi from another bookie, Prem Taneja. We have recovered the invoices of these items and they are a part of our evidence against the Pakistani umpire,” a source in the Mumbai crime branch told The Hindu.

The police claim Rauf passed on inside information of team strategy to Vindu. This was passed on by Vindu to Meiyappan and bookies, including Pawan, on the basis of which they placed bets, police sources say. The police said Meiyappan had placed bets worth a few crores of rupees and even lost Rs. 1 crore in spot-fixing during IPL season 6.

The police claim they have solid evidence against Meiyappan. They have recovered transcripts of several conversations between Vindu and himallegedly about how much money should be placed on bets during IPL 6. Other than the tapped conversations, the police have also recorded the statements of two witnesses. The witnesses have corroborated police claims that Meiyappan used to bet and leak information on team strategies to Vindu.

The Mumbai police have booked all the accused in the case for cheating and forgery, besides under various sections of the Gambling Act. But when they were granted bail, the local metropolitan court judge had pointed out that the police were not able to establish who was cheated and what documents were forged. However, later several cricket fans who watched the Mumbai IPL matches, especially the one on May 15, came forward and lodged a complaint saying they felt cheated.

“We had recovered 92 mobile phones from one of the key bookies, Ramesh Vyas. He was the link between the Indian and Pakistani bookies. Except for one phone, SIM cards for the rest were procured through forged documents. This modus operandi is followed by the other bookies too. Therefore, we are also going to invoke forgery charges against them,” the sources added. The police have also managed to procure CCTV footage from hotels in Mumbai where meetings were held between bookies and Vindu.

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