Indian cricket authorities on Thursday suspended three players, including Test paceman Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, after they were arrested for alleged spot-fixing during the Indian Premier League.
Uncapped bowlers Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila were the other two players suspended from the ongoing domestic Twenty20 competition.
“The three players... stand suspended pending enquiry. All information required to bring the persons involved to book will be collected and strictest action will be taken, if found guilty,” a statement by the sports authorities said.
Sreesanth, 30, was arrested by Delhi police in Mumbai along with his Rajasthan Royal teammates and the trio were being brought to the national capital for questioning, a police source said.
The India paceman was arrested at a friend’s house while his teammates were taken into custody at a hotel after returning from a match Wednesday night against the Mumbai Indians.
The Rajasthan Royals franchise said in a statement they would co-operate fully with police in the investigation.
“We are completely taken by surprise ... we will fully cooperate with the authorities to ensure a thorough investigation,” it said.
“The management at Rajasthan Royals has a zero-tolerance approach to anything that is against the spirit of the game,” the statement added.
The Press Trust of India news agency said police have also arrested seven bookmakers in Mumbai and three in Delhi for their alleged involvement in the scandal.
Sreesanth, who played the last of his 27 Tests against England two years ago, and has notched up 53 one-day internationals, is no stranger to controversy, and was famously slapped by his teammate Harbhajan Singh during an IPL match in 2008.
Sports Minister Jitendra Singh described the arrests as “unfortunate” and called on the authorities to take strict action against the players if found guilty.
A mechanism must be put in place “to prevent such unethical activities and ensure clean sports in the country”, he said in a news release.
Spot-fixing is an illegal activity where a specific part of a game is fixed.
It hit the headlines in 2011 when three Pakistani players were banned after being found guilty of contriving no-balls in return for money in a 2010 Test in England.
Former captain Salman Butt got a 10-year ban, with five years suspended, and Mohammad Asif was barred for seven years, with two suspended. Mohammad Aamer was banned for five years – the minimum punishment under the International Cricket Council code.
All three, along with their agent Mazhar Majeed, were also jailed by an English court in 2011 for spot-fixing. The three players were released last year.