New Delhi: In another sensational twist in the IPL betting scandal, Delhi Police on Thursday claimed that Rajasthan Royals` owner Raj Kundra had "admitted" to placing bets on his own team through a bookie who is also his business partner.
Police have confiscated Kundra`s passport to ensure that he does not leave the country during investigations.
"He (Kundra) has admitted to betting. He used to bet on his own team. We have also come to know that he has lost a lot of money in betting. He used to bet through (Umesh) Goenka, who is also a bookie," Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar said. He also claimed that investigators have come to know that Kundra has lost a lot of money in betting.
Kundra, a British national and husband of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, was questioned for 11 hours yesterday after cricketer Sidharth Trivedi told police that Kundra`s business partner-friend Umesh Goenka used to ask for information regarding team formation and pitches.
Kundra is the second IPL team owner after Chennai Super Kings` Gurunath Meiyappan who is in the dock for alleged betting. If the charges against the owners are proved, BCCI can give Rajathan Royals the boot from IPL.
Kundra has since flown back to Mumbai and will be quizzed again soon.
To another question, the Delhi police chief said they have not invoked MCOCA in the case to deny bail to players. "We have applied law based on the crime committed," he said.
"There are reports that it has been slapped to prevent bail. But there is no such intention. We would apply the laws which are applicable in a case according to the nature of the crime," Kumar said.
Earlier in the day before Kumar`s statement, Kundra had fumed at the media over the betting allegations, accusing it of "misconstruing" developments.
Police claimed that Kundra was into betting but not into fixing.
The questioning was basically on his alleged role in betting, they said.
Sources said the name of Goenka, with whom Kundra owns a company dealing in steel business, came during the recording of statement of Trivedi, a prosecution witness in the case.
In his statement recorded before a magistrate, sources said, Trivedi claimed that Goenka approached him and sought details about the cricket pitch in Ahmedabad and details about team formations.
Kundra has 42 per cent stake in the steel business with Goenka who has 16 per cent shares in the firm.
Earlier in the day before Kumar`s remarks, Kundra had tweeted, "Good morning woke up to news Raj Kundra faces the heat. Yes it`s very hot in Mumbai. Media has misconstrued everything using unreliable sources. Try speaking to the main guys at crime branch. Why does media hype things and make such stupid claims to sell news."
"Is there an arrest warrant? I am back home in Mumbai. Kindly let Delhi crime branch do their work. Media stop using derogatory statements," he said.
His wife and actress Shilpa Shetty also lashed out in her tweets. "Get the real story rather than ure PAID (unreliable) sources. Just to reiterate, we will do all it takes to reach to the bottom of this "spot fixing case" and be of complete help till that happens."
Players S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandela and Ankeet Chavan were arrested on charges of spot-fixing during the recent IPL tournament after which they were sacked by Rajasthan Royals.
Delhi Police had earlier created a stir by claiming that Sreesanth and the two other players had acted at the "command" of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and Chota Shakeel, among India`s most wanted, as it invoked the stringent MCOCA against 23 accused in the case.
Kundra owns 11.7 per cent stake in the team while Suresh Chelaram, co-brother of Lalit Modi, owns43 per cent. Manoj Badale has 34 per cent and Rupert Murdoch`s son Lalchan Murdoch also has stake in the team.