The cricketing world was stunned after S Sreesanth and two other Rajasthan Royals players were arrested by Delhi Police for spot-fixing in an IPL 2013 game.
Delhi police swooped on Wednesday night with Sreesanth and teammates Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila taken into custody, while 11 other bookies were also arrested, three of them from Delhi.
The players were arrested in Mumbai, where the Royals played their last game against the Mumbai Indians on Wednesday night, and will be produced in court once they are brought to Delhi.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) suspended the three players in question pending further investigation, with BCCI president N Srinivasan insisting the tournament, in its final leg, would go on undeterred.
The Royals issued a statement expressing their surprise at the turn of events. "We have been informed that 3 of our players have been called in for investigation on spot fixing in matches," the statement read. "We are completely taken by surprise.
"We do not have the full facts at this point and are unable to confirm anything. We are in touch with the BCCI on this matter.
"We will fully cooperate with the authorities to ensure a thorough investigation. The management at Rajasthan Royals has a zero-tolerance approach to anything that is against the spirit of the game."
The police said they monitored the IPL for quite a while, and the players have been charged with spot-fixing in various matches.
The police said Sreesanth, whose distant relative Jiju Janardhanan is a key accused in the case, fixed a game against the Kings XI Punjab, his old side, on May 9 in Mohali, and gave the bookies an indication of the over in which he would give more than 14 runs by putting a towel in front of his trousers.
"There was an agreement between the players and the bookies about certain number of runs to be given in an over," Delhi police chief Neeraj Kumar said. "The bookies also gave instructions to cricketers about giving signals before bowling that rigged over.
"Sreesanth decided that the over in which he will bowl loose and give more than 14 runs, he will put a towel in front side of his pants.
"This happened during the IPL 2013 match between RR and Kings XI Punjab on May 9 in Mohali."
Chandila did the same against the Pune Warriors on May 5, but failed to give the bookies an indication of which over, leading to a disagreement.
Chavan conceded 14 runs or more in the game on Wednesday against MI, for which he was paid a whopping Rs. 60 lakhs -- the spinner gave away 15 runs in his second over -- the third of the innings -- after only conceding two runs in his first.
Kumar said no other players were involved and while they would be making more arrests, there would be no more players who would be taken into custody.
"If needed, we will contact the Income Tax and Enforcement directorate departments," Kumar said.
"We were working on this since April. We only came across these three cricketers and since we had the evidences, we arrested them.
"The mastermind of the episode is sitting abroad. Who is he, I won't be able to tell you."
The police said they have over 100 hours of audio of conversations between the players and bookies.
Spot-fixing is not like match fixing where you try to throw the game completely. In spot-fixing, a player makes a pre-determined decision, like bowling a wide or a no-ball in the fifth ball of the sixth over, although if a full over was involved, as is alleged, then it does become a lot more serious, especially in T20 cricket.
Pakistani players Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were prosecuted in England a couple of years ago, after the players were found guilty of spot-fixing in a Test match against England in 2010.
Butt was banned for ten years, five of which were suspended, while Asif was banned for seven years, with two of them suspended. Amir copped a five-year ban.
Sreesanth has had an underwhelming IPL 2013 so far, with the fast bowler in and out of the Royals side, which has performed so well and sealed a place in the playoffs.
The fast bowler is no stranger to controversy in the IPL, with the famous "Slapgate" saga involving Harbhajan being the most famous.
The bowler's family denied the charges vehemently, with his brother-in-law Madhu Balakrishnan, who is a playback singer in the Malayalam film industry, saying Sreesanth was not capable of such actions, while his father rather sensationally claimed MS Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh had framed his son.
Those claims were of course rather baseless, with Sreesanth's mother apologizing for her husband's comments, but standing firm on the fact that her son would never be involved in such actions.
"He is dead against match-fixing, and can never do anything like that," Balakrishnan said. "He told his parents that he was fully fit but was not being allowed to play. We are certain that he will do no wrong."
Sreesanth, who has played 27 Tests, 52 ODIs and 10 T20s for India and was also part of the squad which won the World Cup in 2011, has been plagued by injuries in recent seasons and was hoping to make an impression in the IPL to catch the attention of the national team's selectors.