The spot-fixing scandal in the Indian Twenty20 league cracked by the Delhi police is getting murkier. Investigators now suspect such underhand deals in previous editions of the league and in tournaments such as the Indian Cricket League (ICL), a private league held between 2007 and 2009.
The suspicion has strengthened following the interrogation of Baburao Yadav, a former ICL player turned bookie, and Sunil Bhatia, a fixer, who were arrested by the special cell personnel.
The disclosures made by them have led the investigators to examine the role of some ICL cricketers.
The interrogation has revealed that Bhatia had taken Yadav to Bangladesh to introduce him to some prominent Bangladesh cricketers in 2009. But Bhatia, already under the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) scanner as a fixer, was identified by its anti-corruption branch. Fearing arrest, they returned to India.
Bhatia has also revealed that he was introduced to fixing by a high-profile Chandigarh-based bookie-fixer whose identity has been withheld. Police are trying to apprehend the fixer whom they believe played a major role in inducting cricketers into spot-fixing during the ICL and the current T20 league.
“The interrogation of Bhatia and Yadav has revealed that they first met in 2007 at the time of ICL when Yadav was playing for Hyderabad Heroes. Bhatia claims he fixed some ICL matches through Yadav, but the latter has denied that. The two met again in 2008 and their association strengthened from there,” said a senior investigating officer, who said Bhatia has claimed he has “good contacts” with some foreign players as well.
Police also suspect that fixing took place in the ICL matches because the private league did not come under the purview of any governing body like the BCCI.
Also, players like Yadav were lured by fixers after they were banned by the BCCI for playing in the ICL and were not getting any chance to play and earn money and reputation.
Despite many attempts, Zee Entertainment Enterprises, which funded the ICL, was not available for comments.