New Delhi: The second day of the spot-fixing crisis that threatens to tarnish the credibility of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Indian cricket saw several shocking details emerge during the interrogation of the arrested Rajasthan Royals players, Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila, Ankeet Chavan and Amit Singh.
Here's a breakdown of Friday's major developments.
Sreesanth confesses to spot-fixing, say sources
After initially being defiant, Sreesanth, the fast bowler who has played a combined 90 matches for India, reportedly admitted to the Delhi Police investigation team to having engaged in spot-fixing. Sources, however, add that the Delhi Police is yet to recover the entire money. Sources said Sreesanth has refused to interact with the other two players and that initially when the Delhi Police chief spoke to Sreesanth he said he was not aware of a bigger racket. Reportedly, Sreesanth has been kept in a separate cell and an inspector is keeping track of him.
Two Rajasthan batsmen, more matches under the radar
According to police sources, Ankeet Chavan told the interrogators that bookies had approached two batsmen - one an Indian, the other an international - from Rajasthan Royals. However, whether or not they had agreed to the deal is being investigated right now. Police sources say they are trying to probe the matter and get solid evidence against the two players. Sources also said that previous IPL matches and players from other IPL teams are also under scrutiny.
Top cop does not rule out more arrests
Speaking to CNN-IBN, the Joint Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, Himanshu Roy said that arrests of more cricketers cannot be ruled out and that the police were investigating "the Dawood angle as well". "We arrested bookies from the Kalba Devi area. Their calls were traced to Pakistan and Dubai. It is very unlikely that only three players and one team are involved. Fixing is not limited to one IPL edition. More cricketers may be involved. We are not ruling out arrests of more cricketers," said Roy.
According to sources, Dubai-based bookie Sunil Abhichandani aka Sunil Dubai, against whom a lookout notice was issued in 2012, is suspected to be the D-company link to the episode of IPL 6 spot-fixing. Bookie Chandresh is believed to be operating in India on behalf of Sunil Dubai. Sunil Dubai is a wanted accused in betting cases that involved bookies in Pakistan and Dubai.
Chavan breaks down in custody, confesses to spot-fixing in IPL
According to the Delhi Police, Chavan confessed before the probe team on Friday morning to his involvement in spot-fixing in IPL 6 matches. When Chavan was told that his cricket career was almost finished and that he faced a life ban from the BCCI and a possible jail term, he broke down and claimed that he was initially reluctant but was forced by others to spot-fix. Sources said the transcript shows that Chavan was initially reluctant but later succumbed to the bait as the bookies kept on increasing the inducement.
Chandila's role not limited to IPL 6?
Chandila's involvement is being suspected in games in the previous IPL edition as well, according to sources. During a dispute between the bookies and Singh, when he forgot to show the sign after the first match, this claim emerged. The audio analysis done by the special cell has Singh alluding to 'did you have a problem last time?'. The police said now that the players are in custody, this angle will be probed. Sources also indicated that Chandila would promise bookies to get more players.
It was also claimed that Chandila asked Chavan to indulge in spot-fixing. Chandila reportedly acted as middleman and also took money from the bookies to pay Chavan. Delhi Police sources believe that Chandila may have had the strongest links with bookies and is the man to watch out for.
BCCI calls emergency meeting, criminal proceedings a possibility
During the day's activities, the Indian cricket board continued to tow a strong line when it came to the punishments if the four players were to be found guilty. The BCCI called for an emergency meeting of the working committee on Sunday at 11 am in Chennai, where it is believed a decision will be taken on banning the players for life.
Rajiv Shukla, the IPL chairman, said: "The guilty will get the strongest possible punishment. We will discuss the entire issue before deciding the future course of action. We will be taking some important decisions. The strongest possible action will be taken against the guilty."
Sources said the BCCI is likely to initiate criminal proceedings against Sreesanth, Chandila, Chavan and Singh and that a decision is likely on Sunday. The BCCI suspended cricketer-turned-bookie Singh after his links with the IPL 6 spot-fixing scandal emerged.
Cricketers' families stand by their kin
Even as Chavan reportedly admitted to spot-fixing, his family claimed he is innocent. "He is innocent, think that he is being trapped, I don't think that he can do such a thing. If you twist your wrist-band it does not have to mean anything," said Chavan's brother in Mumbai.
In Kerala, Sreesanth's brother Dipu Santhan claimed that Sreesanth is innocent and that the family knows nothing about spot-fixing. "Please support Sreesanth. He has worked hard for Kerala and its young players. This guy Jiju [Janardhan] was supported by Sreesanth to become a better player; we have no idea about how it turned into this," he said. "All that we can ask for on behalf of Sreesanth and our family are your wishes and prayers. We have no idea about how to deal with the police or courts. We have never been involved in anything like this before we never expected this."
'Don't criticize the IPL, its making money for everyone'
Hitting out at the scandal-hit IPL's critics, the BCCI joint secretary Anurag Thakur said former players, who are lambasting the event in the wake of the ongoing spot-fixing controversy, are themselves minting money from the cash-rich league. According to Thakur, the BCCI will wait for evidence from the police before deciding the quantum of punishment to be handed down to the errant players.