The T20 League spot fixing racket that has led to the arrest of three Rajasthan Royals cricketers, including India's fast bowler Sreesanth, could have links to Pakistan, Mumbai Police sources said on Thursday.
Sreesanth and his colleagues Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandilia as well as seven bookies from Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad were arrested by Delhi Police in Mumbai. According to police sources, the arrests were made on the basis of tracking phone calls, at least two dozen of which originated from Pakistan.
A couple of bookies of the total seven arrested from Mumbai in connection with 'spot fixing' are allegedly linked to absconder mafia don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, who is said to be in Pakistan, sources said. Dawood is believed to be a veteran in cricket betting and match fixing.
The three cricketers, who have been suspended by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) pending an enquiry, and the two bookies were arrested late Wednesday from the Rajasthan Royals' team hotel Trident.
Delhi Police sources also confirmed IANS that the arrests were made on the basis of phone taps over two weeks.
"Delhi Police were tracking the phone calls of players and bookies for the last two weeks. And after they got concrete evidence of involvement of players arrests were made," a Delhi Police spokesperson told IANS.
Police are likely to probe a dozen matches in the ongoing IPL even as the Rajasthan Royals declared a 'zero-tolerance' attitude towards fixing and extended its full cooperation with the investigators on the issue.
Though investigators maintained silence on the issue, the probe may encompass more Indian and some foreign players in the current IPL.
AICC secretary and Congress MP from Mumbai North Sanjay Nirupam demanded a thorough probe.
"Not only the players, but also all those connected with the T20 League should be thoroughly investigated and the BCCI must fully co-operate in the matter," Nirupam told media networks.
In 2012, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had suspended Shalabh Srivastava, Mohnish Mishra, T.P. Sudhindra, Amit Yadav and Abhinav Bali for spot-fixing in the IPL that was revealed in a sting operation by a TV channel.
Spot fixing came to light in 2010 when three Pakistani cricketers Mohammad Asif, Mohammed Aamir and then skipper Salman Butt were arrested during the Test series in England.
They were alleged to have carried out specific on-field actions, including bowling no-balls at pre-determined times, for payment, during the Lord's Test. The International Cricket Council (ICC) later handed them long bans and they were also convicted and sentenced to spells of detention in Britain.