Vindoo tried to rope in Bhajji, Gony: Crime branch source

Chandresh Jain aka Jupiter, the bookie in the thick of the current IPL spot-fixing controversy, had given Vindoo Dara Singh the job of convincing cricketers Harbhajan Singh and Manpreet Gony to participate in spot-fixing in the next season of IPL, according to a reliable source in the Mumbai Crime Branch.

As Vindoo undergoes intense interrogation at the Mumbai Crime Branch’s property cell, he has revealed a master plan that bookies wanted to put in place for IPL 7. Under the plan, bookies wanted to rope in not only Singh and Gony for spot-fixing, but also a third player, whose name crime branch sources have withheld.

Vindoo claims Meiyappan was also a key figure in the spot-fixing plan, according to the source, and that his betting losses of close to Rs 1 crore had been foisted on him with the intention of making him dependant on bookies to recover it. “Vindoo claims the cartel eventually wanted to use Meiyappan to influence players to participate in spot-fixing,” the source said.

Vindoo, who has met Singh in the past, was looking for connections that he could use to drag the cricketer into betting and spot-fixing, but was unsuccessful this year. He had also started developing a friendship with Gony after being told by Jupiter that the cricketer could be useful for spotfixing. As Vindoo was a familiar face on the celebrity circuit, Jupiter wanted him to take the lead, just as he had done when he roped in Chennai Super Kings chief executive Gurunath Meiyappan, the source said.

“Vindoo claims he tried to get close to Singh and Gony this year, but couldn’t break the ice. He found them difficult to crack,” added the source. Vindoo had earlier confessed that he tried to get information on team composition, management decisions, team strategy and other details from Meiyappan, which he would then pass on to bookies Jupiter, Sanjay Jaipur and Pawan Jaipur.

He has now revealed that he wanted to use Singh and Gony in a similar way to get information about the Mumbai Indians and the Kings XI Punjab, respectively. Gony, who now plays for Kings XI, played ODIs for India while he was with the Chennai Super Kings in 2008.

A crime branch officer investigating the case told Mumbai Mirror, “It has been found that Vindoo tried to get close to Harbhajan with the purpose of extracting team information. He even met the cricketer personally and tried to speak to him at parties and even during cricket matches. The probe has found that Vindoo, working at the behest of Jupiter, was trying to involve Harbhajan in spot-fixing.”

Asenior police officer said, “Vindoo was close to many cricketers and others associated with IPL teams. He would never pass up a chance to attend an IPL party or enter a VIP area, where he would get access to the teams and various people connected to them.

Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police, did not comment on Vindoo’s connection with Harbhajan, but said: “Vindoo tried to get in touch with many people. We are looking into it.”

Meanwhile, the Mumbai police are likely to summon for questioning a hospitality magnate from Chennai who is suspected to have bet huge sums on IPL along with Meiyappan through Jupiter.

He appears under the alias ‘Victor’ in Jupiter’s call records, which the Mumbai police have accessed.