Tamil Nadu police officer seeks umbrella IPL probe
An investigating officer in the IPL spot-fixing scandal who had deposed before the Mudgal Committee has called for the entire case to be handled by one nodal force, like the National Investigation Agency, instead of several independent units as is currently the situation. G Sampath Kumar, a Tamil Nadu-based police officer who had appeared before the Justice Mudgal Committee, said the fixing charges were not being properly investigated because of the diffused nature of the process.
"The main thing that I wanted to stress before the Mudgal Committee too… I asked for an investigation by an agency like the NIA along with a joint investigation team. I had a feeling that this investigation was not [moving] on the right lines because the very FIR [filed by the Delhi police at the time of arresting Sreesanth and two other cricketers] mentions match-fixing. It's in the FIR itself but it was not probed properly," Kumar told the TV channel Headlines Today.
Various strands of alleged corruption in the IPL are being independently investigated by different state police units. While the Delhi Police focuses on the players' involvement, which led to the arrests of three Rajasthan Royals cricketers, the Mumbai Police case is against Gurunath Meiyappan and his connection with alleged actor-bookie Vindoo Dara Singh. Police teams from Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Rajasthan have also chipped in at various points, focusing on the money trail and betting transactions between the high-profile bookies.
Kumar was a superintendent of police with the Crime Branch CID (internal security) in Chennai, working on a case involving fake passports when he came across information relating to betting. He said he had sought a more detailed investigation of this angle but was taken off the investigating team and posted to the Railway police in Trichy, a provincial town 300 km south of Chennai.
Kumar told the channel he believed he was being framed: "They wanted me not to probe further on this. My point is that when we in Q branch [the internal security unit] crack down so many things, why haven't they done that? That's my question."
He appeared before the Mudgal Committee, whose report to the Supreme Court said the charges against Gurunath, the son-in-law of BCCI president N Srinivasan, of being involved in betting and passing on information on IPL games stand proved.
While investigating the fake passport racket, Kumar had interrogated Uttam Jain, alias Kitty, a bookie who claimed to have knowledge about fixing of IPL games, especially the league match between Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals on May 12, 2013. According to Kumar's deposition before the Mudgal Committee, Kitty had revealed how Vikram Agarwal, a Chennai hotelier who was arrested on the charge of being a bookie, knew Gurunath along with a few top cricketers.
Kumar also said that Kitty had revealed that the May 12 IPL match was fixed. The Mudgal report said there "seems to be enough information available on record to indicate that a further investigation is required in respect of the match."
"It was stated that Vikram Agarwal told him (Kitty) that there was negotiation for match-fixing between Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings and Meiyappan has to communicate to Chennai Super Kings (players) for finalisation. Later Kitty came to know that they were planning to fix the match between Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings scheduled on 12.05.2013. Again on 27.04.2013 also after the dinner party, negotiation was on and Vikram Agarwal informed to Kitty some deal was worked out. Later, after a dinner party Meiyappan informed that Chennai Super Kings has agreed to play as per plan and his team will score 140 runs and this was communicated to somebody (Sanjay) in Jaipur over phone by Vikram Agarwal when Kitty was nearby," Kumar said in his signed report. Kumar said that other officers connected to both cases were also transferred within a short time and the file of their investigations was not given to the probe panel, a fact confirmed by Nilay Dutta, in his report to the Supreme Court.
In his interview to Headlines Today, Kumar wondered why, when Kitty gave up so much information in four hours' questioning in the Q -branch office, was he not taken into custody for a longer period.