Mumbai: A division bench of Bombay High Court on Wednesday decided to hear a public interest litigation seeking a joint probe by central agencies, such as Income Tax department, Enforcement Directorate and CBI, into the alleged nexus of cricket players and bookies in the judges` chamber, instead of in open court.
The division bench of Justices P V Hardas and Mridula Bhatkar said they wanted to ask certain questions to the petitioner, former journalist Ketan Tirodkar, which they did not want to do in the open court. The hearing would be held on November 18.
Earlier, the bench had sought to know, from the government, the status of probe carried out by Mumbai Crime Branch in the case related to match-fixing and betting in Indian Premier League.
Today, prosecutor Aruna Pai informed the court that the Crime Branch had arrested 22 persons and filed a chargesheet.
However, Tirodkar, arguing in person, said the police were probing only betting and cheating aspects, but they had not focused on the fixing.
Mumbai Police had not taken into account a year 2000 report of CBI on betting, and not arrested any of the cricket players, unlike the police in Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai.
Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of BCCI chief N Srinivasan, was a witness in IPL betting case registered in Chennai while he was an accused in the case filed in Mumbai, Tirodkar said, pointing out varying probes in various states.
Although Mumbai police had seized a laptop of cricketer Sreesanth, it was taken away by Delhi police which arrested him. There was no coordination between Delhi and Mumbai Police and hence the probe should be entrusted to a central agency, he argued.
Tirodkar said that on a request by the Centre, CBI had earlier conducted a preliminary inquiry into the alleged nexus of players with bookies. This report should have culminated in an FIR if offences had been committed. However, this did not happen.
When the IPL fixing scam broke this year, some bookies? names cropped up during investigations conducted separately by Delhi police and Mumbai police, the PIL says, adding that a central and independent agency such as the CBI must be directed to probe it.