IPL spot-fixing: ED widens probe

Mumbai/New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has widened its probe into financial transactions linked to the organising of various IPL T20 cricket editions with special focus on allegations of money laundering and hawala that have surfaced after police investigations.

The Directorate, for the first time, had registered a criminal case of money laundering in Indian Premier League (IPL) after alleged spot-fixing instances were unearthed sometime back by Delhi Police following which both the agencies have been in touch.

"With the police departments detecting hawala instances in the spot-fixing case, the ED has brought under its probe all the angles that would lead to links of illegal criminal funds being routed in the tournament. The agency was already probing forex violations by the different franchises," Revenue department sources said.

Initial inputs do not suggest a connect between spot-fixing which apparently involved hawala transactions and instances of forex violation, the sources said, adding hawala transactions are conducted very clandestinely and among a group of few selected people.

"Who are the people involved and what are the channels that were being used to spot-fix these matches is the task now," the sources said. While the Delhi police had yesterday informed ED about 27 people arrested in connection with the case, the Mumbai police is also understood to have shared "vital inputs" with the agency.

The ED, in February this year, had issued a notice of Rs 98.5 crore fine on IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals for alleged forex violations.

The agency was largely probing the case under section 6 of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) which deals with transfer or issue of security by a person resident outside India and those clauses that regulate permissible capital account transactions of the same Act.

With the ED coming into picture by invoking the criminal clauses of the PMLA recently, the noose is likely to tighten against the accused players and bookies as under the law the onus of proving one`s innocence is on the accused and there was also the possibility of seizure of assets and bank accounts of those found guilty.