Mumbai Police has seized "what appear to be" the belongings of Sreesanth and Jiju Janardhan - both arrested by Delhi Police on spot-fixing allegations - from hotel rooms booked in their names at a five-star hotel in Mumbai. The police has received legal permission to take mirror images of the laptop and also CCTV footage from the hotel to further investigate into the whole scandal.
Items seized include laptops, iPads, mobile phones, diaries written in English and "what appears to be" Malayalam, and cricket kits. Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police (crime) in Mumbai, said they had reason to believe the items belonged to Sreesanth and Janardhan, and that they will be important clues in the ongoing investigations.
Sreesanth's room was not in the hotel where the Rajasthan Royals team stayed for their match against Mumbai Indians. Sreesanth was reportedly told in Jaipur that he was not playing the match, and only a compact group of 13 or 14 players was to travel. "Yesterday we received information that Sreesanth had independently booked himself into a five-star hotel," Roy said. "I say independent because this is not where his team stayed.
"We worked out that information. Yesterday we searched two rooms, which were issued in the names of Sreesanth and Jiju Janardhan. The search of Sreesanth's room shows that it was lived in, it was inhabited. We have recovered a laptop, which is here before you, an iPad, a mobile phone, cash, a data card, some diaries which appear to be in the handwriting of Sreesanth - some [in] English, some [in] what appears to be Malayalam. We have also recovered some cricket kit, clothing etc.
"The search of the other room shows it was lived in. We have recovered an iPad, a mobile phone and some personal belongings." Roy didn't rule out asking for the custody of Sreesanth and Janardhan depending on what their investigations further reveal.
Roy said the hotel rooms were booked by Tamarind Tours and Travels. "We have tried to recreate events that led to the booking of this room," Roy said. "We have reason to believe Sreeanth and Jiju checked into the hotel late in the night on the 13th of this month. We are recreating their movements on the 14th and the 15th.
"We are also in the process of obtaining CCTV feed to understand who are the visitors, if any, who visited him when he was staying there. What were his movements? We have obtained the permission to take a mirror image of the laptops and phones, so that we can begin the process of analysing these gadgets to further aid our investigation. We believe seizure is important given the direction in which the spot-fixing investigations are headed."
On May 14 - more than a day before the three cricketers were arrested - police also arrested an alleged bookmaker called Ramesh Vyas from Mumbai's Kalbadevi area. The items seized there, Roy said, led them to names of bookies who are also being investigated by Delhi Police.
Roy said 13 of the 92 mobile phones seized from Vyas' premises "were used by him to facilitate connecting Indian bookies with bookies in Pakistan via conference call". Roy said the police has arrested two more bookies - named Praveen Bera and Pankaj Shah (alias Lotus, alias Pappu) - subsequent to that first arrest.
"The interrogation of Ramesh Vyas revealed that he was in touch with certain bookies whose names had figured in the current IPL fixing issue," Roy said. "We followed this lead, and we also found that the same bookies not only figure in calls made by Ramesh Vyas, but his account books also have transactions in them that lead to common bookies.
"After we arrested Ramesh Vyas, we recovered his accounts book, which showed names of bookies that the Delhi Police is also investigating. Some of those bookies, it is reported, have been in touch with these players."
Cases have been registered under the Gambling Act and Indian Penal Code sections that pertain to cheating and forgery. All charges are non-bailable, Roy said.