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Spot Fixing: BIG names being kept under wraps?

Last updated on: May 22, 2013 10:38 IST

Spot Fixing: BIG names being kept under wraps?

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Renu Mittal in New Delhi

More and more dirt is likely to spill out in the spot fixing scandal in the days ahead. But are some key players being protected by the police because of political pressure? Renu Mittal reports

The Indian Premier League slot-fixing scam is becoming murkier.

Sources say that big names are involved, but so far attempts are on to pressurize the police to keep much of the scam under wraps and ensure that only the small fish are fried.

The Mumbai Police made its first arrest from the Bollywood. Legendary Dara Singh's son Vindoo Dara Singh was arrested after a bookie named him in the ongoing interrogations.

During interrogation, Vindoo said he was close to the son-in-law of one of the BCCI franchise owners who called him and asked him to sit with Team India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's wife Sakshi while she was watching the match.

The footage of Vindoo and Sakshi in VIP gallery has been shown repeatedly on television. The police have solid information on him, including phone calls and transcripts of intercepted calls, and hope that his interrogation would lead them to other players in the game.

The police have also arrested Hawala operator Alpesh Patel, who was in touch with a large number of bookies. It was through Patel that a large amount of money was transferred between India and Dubai, claim the cops.

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They hope that this arrest will lead them to the money trail and help them to solve the mystery of how funds were generated and then transferred, and unravel the big kingpins who operated the scam. 

Sources say that with competition increasing between police forces in Delhi and Mumbai to outperform each other, a number of persons are under the scanner and each arrest is giving the police more leads on the persons involved.

Interestingly, sources also say that the police have much more information than it is revealing. Each person who has been arrested is using the names of very powerful people in the hope that those people would save their skin.

Much would depend how far the police is willing to play ball with the political bosses and whether attempts to protect the high and mighty, many of whom are said to be involved in the IPL mess, would bear fruit or not. 

Congress leaders were gunning for Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar not so long ago. But after the spot fixing revelations, that has become difficult. Kumar's tenure as police commissioner ends next month and there is considerable speculation that attempts are afoot to send him on leave by the end of this month, which looks more than doubtful as he probably has more information than he can handle.

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Image: Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar

Tags: BIG , PHOTOS , Mumbai , IPL , Congress

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Those who know the Dara Singh's family say that the late actor has left his son a great deal of property. The fact that he still involved himself in betting and match fixing appears to indicate that it is possible that the money changing hands was much more than he could say no to.  

It is also interesting that the IPL final is likely to be played between Chennai and Mumbai. BCCI President N Srinivasan controls Chennai while industrialist Mukesh Ambani owns Mumbai. There are also reports in the market that Ambani is keen to become a bigger player in cricket and would not like to limit his role to just the ownership of the Mumbai IPL team.

The fact that Subroto Roy of Sahara has pulled out from the IPL and told the BCCI to find a new sponsor for the Indian cricket team for 2014, speculation is that this could clear the decks for Ambani to sponsor the Indian team and make further inroads into the cricket establishment.

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IPL commissioner Rajiv Shukla is an MP and minister and has strong links with Sharad Pawar, another powerful player in the cricket establishment.

Shukla is known to be just one of the many people known to be close to the house of Ambanis. Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan too has close links with Shukla.

All bigwigs of cricket are interrelated, by social friendship or by business interests.  

While sources allege that some key players are being protected by the police because of political pressure, it is also likely that with more of those arrested trying to save their skin, it may be inevitable that more and more dirt may spill out in the days ahead.

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