Disgraced cricketer Ajit Chandila was allegedly paid at least Rs. 49 lakh by bookies for spot- fixing T20 league matches this season and of this Rs. 15 lakh was given for one over in a match against Sunrisers Hyderabad on May 17 but he was arrested before the game, investigators claimed on Wednesday.
The investigators also voiced suspicion about an arrested bookie Sunil Bhatia fixing matches of the Bangladesh Premier League earlier after interrogating him. The bookie had also claimed that he fixed some matches of the rebel Indian Cricket League, police sources said.
The three arrested players Sreesanth, Chandila and Ankit Chavan over a period of time spoke to some of the bookies, they said.
In another development, sources said, a set of bookies struck a deal with Chandila in early April to fix one of the matches and the player allegedly agreed to do so for the May 17 match between Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers in Hyderabad. But they could not do so as they were arrested a day before.
According to the ongoing probe, this will be the fifth match targeted by the bookies for spot-fixing, the previous ones being the matches on May 5, 9, 12 and 15. The spot-fixing could not happen on the May 12 match as the two players whom bookies roped in did not play a senior police official said.
At least 18 people -- three T20 league players, four former players and 11 bookies and their assistants -- have been arrested since last Thursday in connection with the scandal that rocked the cricketing world. Chandila, Sreesanth and Ankit Chavan are the three T20 league players who were arrested.
Chandila, the official said, received Rs. 25 lakh for the May five match from a set of bookies and Rs. 15 lakh for the May 17 match from another set. However, this could not be executed as the players and bookies were arrested a day before.
Chandila also allegedly received Rs. nine lakh from another bookie. However, the official said, the player had to return Rs. 20 lakh out of the Rs. 25 lakh he received from bookies as he forgot to give the pre-decided signal before bowling his over.
He had received Rs. 15 lakh from a Patiala-based property dealer Deepak Kumar on behalf of a bookie, who is absconding, they said. "Kumar was contacted by the bookie to fix a player and he contacted Chandila in April.
"Chandila told him that he will do their job. He did not do as the bookies wanted initially and kept on telling them that he will do it for them soon. Finally a deal was fixed for the May 17 match. He took the advance of Rs. 15 lakh in April itself," the official said.
The questioning of former Ranji player Babu Rao Yadav and Sunil Bhatia, who were arrested earlier this week, have led to suspicion about fixing BPL players, sources said. However, they said they have no concrete evidence to suggest that fixing indeed took place.
According to police sources, Bhatia contacted Yadav in 2007 when the rebel Indian Cricket League was on and tried using him for fixing some matches. The bookie claimed that he had fixed ICL matches, they said.
"After the ICL players were banned, he went to play in Kolkata League. He was getting only Rs. 2000-3,000 and wanted to earn more. It was then Bhatia told him that he has good contacts with a prominent Bangladeshi and he will help get him into a team playing Bangladesh Premier League.
"Both went to Bangladesh. Bhatia is a known fixer and an ICC anti-corruption unit spotted him there. As he got a whiff about it, Bhatia and Yadav returned to India," the official said.
The official said Bhatia, who has "good contacts" with Bangladeshi players, may have fixed matches there but they have nothing to corroborate this. "Bhatia has claimed he has fixed matches in Bangladesh Premier League. He said he knows some Bangladeshi players very well," he said.
Asked whether the three Rajasthan Royals players spoke to bookies directly, he said, "initially they were contacted by friends like Jiju and Amit Singh. Slowly, slowly the players also got in contact with the bookies," the official claimed.
About evidences against Sreesanth, he said they have enough evidence against the player.
On his relations between Sreesanth and Jiju, he said the latter has been serving the pacer in different capacities.
"He is sometimes a driver for him, a friend, a fellow player. Sreesanth was very supportive of Jiju. They used to move together. We have CCTV footages."
The official also said bookie Ramesh Vyas and actor Vindoo Dara Singh have no link with this case.