Three Cricketers Arrested For Spot-Fixing Indian Premier League Games
Indian cricketer S. Sreesanth and two other bowlers belonging to the Rajasthan Royals Indian Premier League team "were arrested on Thursday for spot-fixing," according to the PTI. The three players received up to Rs. 60 lakh ($110,000) "for an over for giving away runs as per arrangements with bookies with underworld connections abroad." The sensational arrests of the three players in the early hours of Thursday in Mumbai by the Special Cell of Delhi Police "has cast a shadow over the ongoing IPL tournament and the players have been suspended" by the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said that the Special Cell "had hundreds of hours of recordings of phone conversations between the players and bookies, 14 of whom have also been arrested." More arrests "are on the anvil," but the role of no other player, Indian or foreign, "has come to light" (PTI, 5/16). THE HINDU reported during the hearing, Special Cell of Delhi police "sought seven days of custodial interrogation of the cricketers and others to unearth the entire conspiracy relating to spot-fixing in three IPL matches involving Rajasthan Royals." The counsel appearing for some of the accused opposed the police plea, alleging that "they were innocent and have been falsely implicated in the case. The defence counsel alleged foul play and claimed that some other persons were behind the conspiracy" (THE HINDU, 5/16). THE NATIONAL reported Sreesanth, who played in the 2011 World Cup final, "has been involved in several controversies." He was slapped by then-Indian teammate Harbhajan Singh ahead of the first IPL season in '08 "following an exchange." He has had "a much-publicised fight with the Kerala State Cricket Association." The Royals franchise, one of nine teams to compete in the IPL, "is part-owned" by Bollywood acress Shilpa Shetty (THE NATIONAL, 5/16).
AUSTRALIANS BENEFIT: In Sydney, Ben Doherty reported Australian cricketers Adam Gilchrist, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, and Aaron Finch have found themselves -- unwittingly and innocently -- "involved in the periphery" of the IPL's spot-fixing scandal. They were the beneficiaries of the ''thrown'' overs from three Indian bowlers. On-field, the players "would signal to the bookies they were about to 'throw' the over with a pre-arranged signal." Bookies "would lay bets against the runs being scored" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 5/17). In Sydney, Malcolm Conn reported all five Australians who play for the Rajasthan Royals "will be questioned." No suspicion surrounds the Australians. Kumar "denied any Australians were involved." Kumar: "No, your countrymen can rest in peace" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 5/17).
MAKING A STATEMENT: The Rajasthan Royals said, "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" (London TELEGRAPH, 5/16). Int'l Cricket Council CEO David Richardson said, "The ICC will provide full support to the BCCI and Delhi Police in this investigation. The BCCI's decision to suspend its three cricketers on corruption charges is a clear indicator of the ICC and its Members' zero-tolerance approach" (ICC).
FACING LIFETIME BAN: The PTI reported BCCI President N. Srinivasan said that the "unpleasant news came like a bolt from the blue." Srinivasan said, "I am shocked. The sport is clean and we [BCCI] are running it clean, but one or two bad eggs here and there cannot sully the entire game. We will see whatever necessary is to be done" (PTI, 5/16). The PTI also reported former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly said that the three cricketers accused of spot-fixing should be "banned" for life if found guilty. Ganguly said, "I am disappointed and angry at what has happened. If found guilty they should be banned for life" (PTI, 5/16). The PTI also reported it "could be curtains as far as S. Sreesanth’s cricket career is concerned." The BCCI is "set to impose a life-ban on the ‘maverick’ pacer from Kerala" for his alleged role in the spot-fixing scandal (PTI, 5/16).