With the field all set for the IPL finale, the iconic cricketing grounds at Eden Gardens teemed with cops from different parts of the country yesterday. While the Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians clashed for the championship trophy, yet another nail-biting contest was under way, with cops from different states on the prowl, each vying to make that next breakthrough in the unfolding spot-fixing saga.
The match presented the last opportunity in the season for police teams to catch some more big fish in the racket. Besides the Mumbai Police officials, teams from Karnataka police, Delhi police, Jaipur police the other intelligence agencies were on the prowl, their unwavering gaze trained on the players. The mobile phones of players and bookies were under surveillance. Cops were also briefed to pay special attention to the body language and gestures of the athletes, on the basis of leads provided by the arrested accused Vindu Singh.
“Every move will be monitored and the stadium will be checked thoroughly for any suspicious person or activity. It’s the finals and our last attempt to get our hands on the culprits. We will be keeping our eyes and ears open,” said a Crime Branch officer, requesting anonymity.
Since the spot-fixing scam made headlines, almost every state police force has been racing to make the next breakthrough. According to information received by the city’s Crime Branch, the bookies who managed to evade arrest are still active and took bets worth crores for the finals, having shifted base for their operations to Kolkata, the venue for the finals. In fact, one of the bookies who could well be the mastermind in the sordid affair goes by the name of Junior Kolkata. His last location was traced to Kolkata.
Kolkata had given cops the slip last year, when the Social Service branch raided his Andheri residence and seized his laptop, mobile phones and Rs 1 crore in cash. According to sources, a senior officer allowed him to escape.
More players likely to be arrested
Police yesterday said that at least three to four IPL players were likely to be arrested after the final match that was played between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings at Kolkata's Eden Gardens stadium. The Delhi Police had launched a manhunt for these players just after the questioning of Mohammed Yahya alias Yusuf (45), a bookie who was arrested on Friday from Hyderabad when he was trying to flee to Dubai. A Delhi Police source said that Yahya revealed some names of the players who were also involved in the spot fixing. “A team of Delhi Police has arrived in Kolkata,” said the source. “Now, we are in search of three to four players whose name came during the question of Yahya,” another senior official associated with the probe said.