The spot-fixing expose could have turned much more embarrassing for the three tainted cricketers. If sources are to be believed, bookies had planned to videotape the players’ ‘act’ while they were with ‘escorts’ provided to them. The videos could be used to blackmail the players if they went hostile.
Interrogation of the arrested bookies and players has also revealed that two bookies,Chandresh Patel alias Chand and Manan, had allegedly arranged for women forSreesanth and Ajit Chandila five to six times earlier this year.
The cops are in the process of scanning the hard disks of the 5 laptops recovered from the arrested bookies to see if any such tapes were indeed made, source added. The laptops will be sent for forensic labs as well where experts would make a mirror image of the hard disk for future investigation.
Sources said, during the initial investigations, cops overheard conversations in which bookies were being told to see if they can install cameras in the rooms where cricketers were likely to be entertained by women provided by the bookies. These exchanges took place between a Dubai phone number and numbers in Delhi and Mumbai.
Officers said they are yet to find evidence of any such videotape having been made.
The source said that the plan was to be executed at the house parties, one of which was held in Gurgaon as well. However, there was no clarity on if the women were a part of the trap meant for the players or they were also not to be told about it.
“Although we never investigated this part of the racket as it is a secondary task and our focus was to nab the players and bookies first, but it appears that the bookies did not want the girls to know about the videotape plan. We do not have enough details as to why the bookies would not let the girls in on the plan,” the source said.
Asked why the bookies needed to blackmail the players when they were very much hand in glove with them, the source said that unpleasant situations are likely arise in the business — like the one where Chandila declined to return Rs 20 lakh which he had taken to fix the over although he had forgotten to give the signal. Chandila and the bookie had a heated argument over money during which the bookie had flaunted his Dubai connection, after which Chandila calmed down, the source added.
A Delhi police officer, in a lighter mood, said the IPL website probably meant “Women, Wealth and Wine T20 tournament”. Delhi Police officers have confirmed that the practice of supplying escorts by IPL players was rampant and some bookies even themselves arranged the escorts for the players.
Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said on Friday that women were present with cricketer S Sreeshant and his friend Jiju when they were arrested.
“Very much. Girls were present with Sreesanth and Jiju. We also have information about others (players),” he said.
Asked whether honey trap was used in cricket, he said it was an open secret and is part of all big sports. Lawyers of the accused denied the allegations.