Spot-fixing: Mumbai Police summons Gurunath Meiyappan
Three Chennai Super Kings players, one of them quite senior, were in touch with Vindoo Dara Singh during the ongoing T20 season, the actor, arrested in connection with the spot-fixing probe, has told investigators.
"Yes, he has dropped some names, we are verifying the authenticity of his claims," said the joint commissioner of police (crime), Himanshu Roy, who refused to reveal the identities of the cricketers.
The police might question the players once they corroborate Vindoo's claims, sources said.
The small-time Bollywood actor, arrested by the Mumbai police on May 21 for betting and his alleged links to bookies, is emerging as a key link in the spot-fixing scandal that has rocked Season 6 of cricket's richest tournament.
His interrogation has brought the fixing scandal to the door of CSK, which is owned by India's cricket board chief N Srinivasan.
On Thursday, a team of the Mumbai Police was in Chennai to question Gurunath Meiyappan, Srinivasan's son-in-law and CSK 'principal', or CEO, as his name allegedly figured prominently during the interrogation of Vindoo, known as Jack in betting circles. The team drew a blank as Meiyappan was not home.
However, in a message faxed to the Mumbai police, Meiyappan said he would appear before the police at 11am Monday. "We have informed the Mumbai Police that it's impossible for him to appear on a short notice since he is out of town with his family," adviser to the Meiyappan family and senior counsel in the Madras high court, PS Raman, told HT over telephone late on Thursday. Raman, who claimed that he was unaware of his client's whereabouts, said he was yet to hear from the police.
When contacted, the additional commissioner of Police, Niket Kaushik, said they had received the fax from Gurunath's lawyer late in the evening and would take a decision on the request on Friday morning.
Himanshu Roy said the police were probing how Vindoo suddenly made a killing during the ongoing season, pocketing a neat Rs. 17 lakh through betting.
"This is strange since he lost heavily in the previous five seasons," he said.
During the day in Chennai, a team of the Mumbai Police's crime branch was literally red-flagged when it reached the Cenotaph Road residence of Meiyappan. A red flag was fluttering atop the house -- an indication, said locals, that no one was home.
Meiyappan was not at his office in the India Cements building either, Roy said. The CSK office is housed in the building as well. Srinivasan is the vice-chairman and MD of India Cements.
A copy of the summons -- asking Meiyappan to appear before the crime branch in Mumbai on Friday between 11am and 5pm -- was pasted at his house and another handed over to an employee at the CSK office, Roy said.
The police had summoned Meiyappan as they wanted to bring him face-to-face with Vindoo, whose police remand would end on Friday.
(With inputs from Chennai)