In what could link the film industry to the current spot-fixing scandal, the Mumbai police crime branch have found several photos of models in the laptop of cricketer S Sreesanth that were sent by a small time casting director. The police have found at least a dozen e-mails sent by the casting
FILE PHOTO: Rajasthan Royals' former players S Sreesanth and Ajit Chandila during a practice session at Jaipur. HT phot/Vipin Kumar
director to Sreesanth which contained photographs of female models.
An officer requesting anonymity said that they had called the Lokhandwala-based casting director for interrogation. The casting director told the police that Sreesanth, who along with a Hyderabad-based film producer, floated a brand called S 36 involved in mineral package drinking water and sport goods, and wanted models for advertising their products.
The officer said, “We are not taking his statement at face value and are checking if any of the models were being used as conduits between bookies and Sreesanth to pass information about the matches,” the officer said. The police are also recording the statement of the employees of Tamarind tours and travels, which had booked the hotel rooms in a suburban five-star hotel at the behest of Sreesanth.
A senior crime branch officer added that they would also be checking the laptop of the casting director to find out if he had e-mailed photographs of models to any other cricketer as well. The officer added that Sreesanth had got in touch with the casting director through a social networking site and the duo had not communicated much. “He knew the casting director through the Hyderabad-based producer,” an officer said. The police will also be questioning the Hyderabad-based producer.
Meanwhile, the Delhi police special cell contacted the Mumbai crime branch on Monday for information on the laptop, I-pad and I phone that was found in hotel room that Sreesanth’s had booked on May 13. While the Delhi police arrested Sreesanth - along with Ankit Chavan and Ajit Chandalia - from Mumbai on May 15, the crime branch had searched the room he had booked in a suburban five star hotel and recovered his phone and laptop amongst other things. “We will be sharing the information with them,” an officer said.
An officer said that while Sreesanth has no longer been named as an accused in the case registered by the Mumbai crime branch as yet, he could be named in the FIR if any link is established between the cricketer and the bookies arrested by the crime branch.
Explaining the link between the bookies arrested by the Mumbai crime branch and the Delhi police special cell, an officer said that while the Delhi police was tracking some bookies operating out of India, the Mumbai police crime branch had arrested Ramesh Vyas, who was connecting the Indian bookies to those in Pakistan and Dubai. During the interrogation of Vyas the police came across the name of three more bookies identified as Jatin Gujrat, Lambu Gujrat and Kishore Pune who the police are looking out for.
As soon as we arrested Vyas, the link between the two sides broke and some of the bookies went underground. A day after crime branch arrested Vyas along with two others, the Delhi police arrested 11 bookies from Delhi along with the three cricketers.