The Rajasthan Royal's performance this season has been praised by one and all after making it to the Play-Offs following their consistent performance under Rahul Dravid's leadership but the allegation of spot-fixing involving three of its players has ruined their splendid run in Indian Premiere League (IPL) 2013.
The Delhi Police arrested three of its bowlers - S Sreesanth, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila - on Thursday in Mumbai before being produced before the Saket Court for alleged spot-fixing in the ongoing IPL matches. The police have also detained 11 other bookies.
The players have been charged under section 240 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
According to the Delhi police, the bowlers were asked to concede at least a given number of runs in an over so that the bookies could bet heavily and make profits. The bowlers give pre-decided signal through their accessories like wrist watches, wrist bands, towels etc before starting an over, for which they were paid upto ₹60 lakh.
Delhi commissioner Neeraj Kumar said that spot fixing happened on 5, 9 and 15 May.
According to the police, Chandila conceded 14 runs in the second over of his spell against the Pune Warriors India on 5 May but forgot to give the pre-decided signal. He was offered ₹40 lakh for the spell and ₹20 lakh was paid in advance but he had to return the amount as the bookies couldn't bet.
Sreesanth allegedly inserted a towel on his trouser in the match against Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on 9 May, sending the signal to the bookies. He gave away 13 runs in that particular over. Then Ankit Chavan was offered ₹60 lakh to concede 13 or more runs in the match against Mumbai Indians on 15 May. His second over cost the team 15 runs.
The BCCI suspended all the three players in question after the news of their involvement in spot-fixing surfaced.
"I don't agree that IPL is untenable. I do not agree that IPL should not continue. The game of cricket should not stop. We will do everything to root out corruption. But to make a sweeping statement that the IPL is untenable is wrong," BCCI President N Srinivasan told reporters via a video conference on Thursday.
"We will take action as per our rules. We have no information about other cricketers from the police. If any more information comes to the BCCI we will act immediately," he added.
He however ruled out scrapping the tournament because of the incident.
Meanwhile, the Rajasthan Royals have issued a statement expressing their surprise at the allegation against three of their players and assured their co-operation in the investigation process.
"We have been informed that 3 of our players have been called in for investigation on spot fixing in matches. 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," said the statement.
"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 that the players were offered ₹60 lakh to sllow 20 runs in an over in their match against the Mumbai Indians on Wednesday. MI put up 166 runs on the board, but interestingly, Sreesanth was not featured in the match.
Spot-fixing is not like match fixing where you try to change the course of a game. 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.