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A SIM card given to Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf by a wanted bookie was destroyed at the insistence of Vindoo Dara Singh before the actor's arrest in the IPL betting scam, the Mumbai crime branch told a court, which extended his police remand till May 31.
Additional Metropolitan Magistrate A M Padwad, on Tuesday, also extended the crime branch custody of Alpesh Patel, a hawala operator, and Prem Taneja, a conduit for the bookies, under arrest in the same case, till the end of this month.
Seeking further custody of Vindoo, who has emerged a key figure in the IPL betting racket, prosecutor Kiran Bendbar said the SIM card was given by absconding bookmaker Sanjay Jaipur to controversial Pakistani umpire Rauf. Before being arrested the actor told the umpire to destroy it.
The investigators, he said, intended to probe deeper into the nexus between Vindoo and Rauf, who is in the limelight for wrong reasons in the past, and Sanjay Jaipur, whom the reality TV show Bigg Boss season 3 winner had helped escape to Dubai.
The prosecutor said the crime branch also intended to confront Vindoo and others arrested in the case with Ashwin Agarwal alias Tinku, arrested by the special cell of Delhi police.
The Mumbai Police had on Monday secured a production warrant for bringing Tinku to the city for interrogation.
Defence counsel Satish Maneshinde contested the grounds cited by the prosecution for seeking extension of Vindoo's custody, saying the charge levelled against the actor was of betting, which is a bailable offence. The actor, he said, was not involved in match-fixing.Maneshinde said police has had the custody of Vindoo for sufficient period of time and assured the court that his client would be available to the police as and when required.
Magistrate Padwad, however, rejected the defence's contention and extended the custody of 49-year-old Vindoo, Patel and Taneja till May 31, saying "there are sufficient grounds for extending their police custody".
Speaking briefly to the media outside the court, Vindoo said, "I am innocent... I am being harassed."
His Russian model wife Dina Umarova alleged the actor was being "victimised".
Before his name cropped up in the IPL fixing scandal, Mumbai-based model Leena Kapoor had accused umpire Rauf of sexually exploiting her on several occasions on the promise of marriage though the umpire denied the allegation.Rauf was pulled out of the elite panel of umpires for the Champions Trophy by the ICC after his name surfaced in the IPL spot-fixing racket.