Kerala pacer S. Sreesanth and two other players of the Rajasthan Royals Indian Premier League team have been arrested by the Delhi Police and charged with spot-fixing in the on-going tournament.
Sreesanth and the others, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, were arrested in a secret swoop at the Trident Hotel in Mumbai, where they were staying, and will be brought to Delhi to be produced in court.
The police have also arrested seven bookies. Police sources said the players have been accused of spot-fixing in different matches this week. They also said that the arrests were part of an investigation conducted over months by the special cell of the Delhi Police into alleged spot-fixing in the cash-rich IPL tournament, the sixth edition of which is being played now. (Also Read: MI vs RR - M66 Report & Stats: IPL 2013)
The Rajasthan Royals franchise, which is co-owned by Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty, has said in statement that, "We are completely taken by surprise... We will fully cooperate with the authorities to ensure a thorough investigation. The management at Rajasthan Royals has a zero-tolerance approach to anything that is against the spirit of the game."
30-year-old Sreesanth, a veteran of 53 ODIs and 27 Tests, has been in controversy before over a fight with spinner Harbhajan Singh in the 2008 edition of the IPL.
Chandila, 29, has played for Haryana and the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL previously. Chavan, 27, has played for Mumbai.
Spot fixing is the manipulation of a particular ball or wicket in a cricket tournament, which is then betted upon.
Betting on sports is illegal in India but is allegedly big business in the IPL and is run by underground syndicates in Mumbai and other parts of the country. Sources said bookies often operate out of vehicles now to avoid detection.
Rajasthan Royals' statement:
We have been informed that 3 of our players have been called in for investigation on spot fixing in matches. We are completely taken by surprise. We do not have the full facts at this point and are unable to confirm anything. We are in touch with the BCCI on this matter. We will fully cooperate with the authorities to ensure a thorough investigation. The management at Rajasthan Royals has a zero-tolerance approach to anything that is against the spirit of the game.