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Sreesanth and Co refused bail as top court raps BCCI

Updated May 22, 2013
Sreesanth, who is the most famous of three having played 27 Tests, is alleged to have been paid four million rupees. -Photo by AFP
Sreesanth, who is the most famous of three having played 27 Tests, is alleged to have been paid four million rupees. -Photo by AFP

NEW DELHI: Former Indian paceman Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and two of Rajasthan Royals team-mates cricketers were refused bail on Tuesday after they appeared in court here on spot-fixing charges as senior judges rapped the Indian board’s ‘lackadaisical’ approach over the scandal.

And in a sign of the growing fallout from the allegations, police in Mumbai announced the arrest of a Bollywood actor as part of the investigation which has caused outrage among fans in the cricket-mad nation.

A court in New Delhi agreed a five-day custody extension for Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan who are accused of deliberately bowling badly in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars during the ongoing Indian Premier League, a Twenty20 competition.

“Police said they wanted to interrogate them further and also conduct raids on their houses,” said S.K Rai, one of the prosecuting lawyers who was present at the hearing.

Eleven other bookmakers who were arrested at the same time as the Rajasthan Royals trio were also refused bail during the afternoon sitting.

Investigators told the court they had seized two million rupees (around $37,000) stashed in a cricket kit bag and hidden at the home to a relative of Chandila, one of the three players in custody.

Police behind the arrests last week of Sreesanth, Chandila and Chavan say the trio were acting under orders from international crime syndicates, whose bosses are based in the Gulf.

Sreesanth, who is the most famous of three having played 27 Tests, is alleged to have been paid four million rupees (about $75,000) to give away 14 runs in an over in a match against Kings XI Punjab on May 9.

His team-mates are said to have agreed to similar deals in two other IPL matches.

The Rajasthan Royals on Monday suspended the contracts of the three players and promised to cooperate fully with the authorities in their investigation.

As the bail hearing was taking place in a lower court in south Delhi, the country’s Supreme Court was hearing a private petition to halt the tournament.

While it turned down that application, the bench ordered the Indian board to come up with a report within 15 days to show how it intends to clean up the game.

“The problem is lackadaisical approach of the BCCI [Board of Control for Cricket in India] and it must stop,” the bench said, according to a report carried by the Press Trust of India news agency.

“We are not talking about individual players but about irregularities. What measures are you taking? You must take all steps to stop the irregularities.

“We direct that committee submit its report in 15 days and specifically point out irregularities in the matches and individual errant behaviour. The board should take immediate action against the team and the players as per rules.”

Meanwhile police in Mumbai said they had arrested the actor Vindu Dara Singh Randhawa, who is the son of the late Bollywood star Dara Singh, as part of the spot-fixing investigation.

“He has been arrested today,” Mumbai police spokesman Satyanarayan Choudhary said, without giving further details.

And in a further blow to the IPL, a seven-week competition which is reaching its finale, the struggling Pune Warriors franchise announced it was pulling out of the tournament in a dispute with the board about fees.

The decision is largely symbolic as the team has already finished their matches, finishing second from bottom of the tournament.—AFP