“Aaj zindagi ki haar-jeet kar lo Mumbai par,” Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf had told Vindoo Dara Singh before the start of a particular Indian Premier League (IPL) match involving Mumbai Indians. Rauf was officiating as the on-field umpire in that match. Life, however, has a funny way of getting even. Months after he uttered those words, they have come back to haunt the now-retired umpire. This particular phone conversation, recovered from Vindoo’s mobile during investigations, have been mentioned as proof in the massive charge-sheet filed by the Mumbai Police on Saturday.
Nearly four months after the IPL scandal -- Indian cricket’s biggest hour of shame to date -- rocked the nation, Mumbai police crime branch officers on Saturday chargesheeted Gurunath Meiyappan, former owner of Chennai Super Kings, bookie Vindoo Dara Singh, Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf and 20 others in the IPL betting case. According to sources, Meiyappan, Vindoo and a few others have been charged only for betting, not spot fixing. This, however, could not be confirmed at the time of going to press.
Briefing the media, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy said the chargesheet had been filed in the court of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Uday Padwad.
According to Roy, Rauf (now retired) and many others including 15 bookies have been declared as ‘wanted’ in the 11,609-page chargesheet. The other accused have been charged under section 66A of the Information Technology Act, sections 4 and 5 of the Gambling Act and sections 465 (forgery), 466 (forgery of record of court or of public register), 468 (forgery for cheating), 471 (using a forged document as genuine), 490 (breach of contract), 420 (cheating), 212 (harbouring the offender), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.
The IPL betting and match-fixing scam broke like a clap of thunder when officers of the Delhi Police nabbed some cricketers and then Mumbai police arrested bookies Ramesh Vyas, Ashok Vyas and Pandurang Kadam in May and recovered 92 mobile phones, 18 SIM cards and a laptop from them among other equipment. At least 30 of these phones were used to facilitate contacts with bookies in India, Pakistan and Dubai through conference calls made by Vyas.
Highlights of the chargesheet
>> Gurunath Meiyappan was in touch with Vindoo Dara Singh. He allegedly provided confidential information related to his team to Vindoo and Vindoo passed them on to bookies.
>> On May 12 Guru and Vindoo have a phone conversation where the former says CSK would score less and make between 130 and 140 runs. He then places bets through Vindoo against his own team. CSK lose the match.
>> Clause 4.2 of Code of conduct in IPL says umpires cannot place bets. Rauf had placed bets through Vindoo on pitch conditions and matches.
>> On May 15, just before the Mumbai Indians Vs Rajasthan Royals match at 13:29 Rauf is heard telling Vindoo, “Aaj zindagi ki haar jeet kar lo Mumbai par.” Rauf was standing in that match as umpire. Mumbai Indians (MI) win.
>> On May 16 bookie Pawan Jaipur calls up Vindoo and says “Lafda ho gaya hai. Jo SIM card maine Rauf ko diya hai, tell him to destroy that.” Vindoo calls Rauf and passes message.
The chargesheet in numbers:
Total pages: 11,609
Arrested/investigated accused: 22
Seized: 150 cellphones, 5 laptops, 3 iPads, 40 SIM cards
Total witnesses: 205
Voice samples taken: 12
Cities from where evidence unearthed: 9
Incriminating CCTV footages: 10