A few days after it emerged that six current Indian cricket players could be part of the Indian Premier League spot-fixing and betting scandal that hit the sport last year, Team India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has reportedly been accused of being involved in 'illegal activity' in the IPL, if a police statement included in Supreme Court-instituted Justice Mukul Mudgal committee's report, which investigated the matter, is to be believed.
Former Tamil Nadu Superintendent of Police (internal security) G Sampath Kumar wrote in a signed statement that a bookie named Kitty claimed Dhoni and former Chennai Super Kings team principal Gurunath Meiyappan had taken part in a deal that pertained to illegal activity in the IPL. Dhoni's name reportedly figures in a sealed envelope submitted to the Supreme Court by the inquiry panel.
"We were investigating a fake passport case when we came across information related to betting. We interrogated a man called Kitty, who talked about Dhoni and Meiyappan," Kumar told Hindustan Times. Interestingly, Kumar was transferred soon after he questioned Kitty.
"The sealed cover contains unverified information that we wanted to share with the court only and contains statements of people who wanted to stay anonymous," Justice Mudgal said when contacted by the newspaper. When asked specifically about Kumar's statement, the former judge said, "I cannot say anything about a matter that is confidential."
Interestingly, Nilay Dutta, one of the three members of the Mudgal committee, had in his supplementary report confirmed part of Kumar's deposition but omitted Dhoni's name.
Dutta's report says: "It is in the record of the Committee, through the deposition of Mr. G Sampath Kumar... (that), one Mr Utham Jain @ Kitty had been interrogated by Q branch in his presence and the said Kitty had disclosed, in course of his interrogation on 23.05.2013, that pursuant to a plan to fix the match between IPL teams, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, scheduled on 12.05.2013, he was informed by one Mr Vikram Agarwal on 27.04.2013 at a dinner party that a deal had been worked out."
"He was also informed the same day by Mr. Gurunath Meiyappan that one senior member in the IPL team, Chennai Super Kings, had agreed to play as per plan and the team will score 140 runs. This plan was communicated to one Sanjay in Jaipur over phone by Mr Vikram Agarwal in presence of Kitty."
Meanwhile, Dhoni's agent Arun Pandey requested people to refrain from any sort of speculation since the matter was still sub-judice. "I haven't seen the report yet. The matter is sub-judice and scheduled for hearing in Supreme Court on March 7, so till then I would like to request people to refrain from speculating," said Pandey.
In Wellington on Thursday, Dhoni skipped the press conference ahead of India's second Test match against New Zealand. Dhoni, who indirectly faces charges of conflict of interest, has been silent over IPL scandals ever since the spot-fixing and betting reports broke last year.