Asad Rauf (Pakistani umpire who was officiating in IPL 6): “Do you know my birthday is coming up?”
Vindu Dara Singh (film and TV actor): “Asadbhai, don’t worry, we will take care of it. I will convey the message to Pawanbhai.”
Pawan Jaipur (bookie) to Vindu: “I am sending a watch worth Rs 6 lakh and a gold chain for Asad through Prem Taneja (another bookie) in Delhi. Please ask Asad to collect it from Delhi.”
These conversations, tapped separately in April, are the clearest evidence so far that Rauf, who fled India after his name cropped up in the IPL betting-fixing racket, was hand in glove with the bookies and solicited gifts.
The transcript of the conversation tapped through three mobiles of Vindu Dara Singh, arrested for his role in the spot-fixing scandal, was shared with TOI by police sources.
The source said in another conversation around the same time, Rauf is heard insisting that Pawan send the bill for the gold chain or else Rauf would have problems with customs.
The bills for this package as well as two other parcels sent later with gifts for Rauf are with the Mumbai crime branch. In May, the crime branch seized the two parcels containing branded shoes, clothes and other personal effects sent by bookie Prem Taneja to Rauf from Delhi airport’s cargo section. The umpire, sensing trouble, had fled barely a day before Vindu’s arrest on May 22 without collecting them.
Vindu is also accused of helping bookie-siblings Pawan and Sanjay Chabra alias Pawan and Sanjay Jaipur flee Mumbai at the height of the crackdown on the betting-fixing rackets.
The crime branch on Wednesday had prepared to strongly oppose the applications moved by the absconding brothers for anticipatory bail, but the court adjourned the matter to July 3.
Senior lawyer Adhik Shirodkar, who appeared for the brothers who own a big jewellery showroom, Motison Jewellers, in Jaipur, pleaded that the police be at least directed to withdraw the lookout notices issued against the duo so that they could return to the country.
The court refused, saying there was no hurry and a decision would be taken after the court has gone through the evidence.
Opposing the bail, the crime branch said since Rauf is not available for interrogation, they need to grill the brothers, who have given the umpire expensive gifts, to uncover their roles in the cricket scandal.
“These two bookies were in touch with Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf and had even paid his shopping bills in the country. They also reportedly own a benami stake in the Sri Lanka Premier League,” said an officer.
Police said the Chabras fled to Dubai immediately after Vindu alerted them about Mumbai Policeraiding super bookie Ramesh Vyas’s betting den at Kalbadevi.