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Fake Sri Lankan Cricket League Kingpin Ravinder Dandiwal Gets Bail

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The police have identified 22 players who had played in the fake cricket league and questioned them.

A day after a trial court in Punjab sent the prime suspect in the fake Sri Lankan cricket league to judicial custody along with two others for recently hosting a fake Sri Lankan T20 league near Chandigarh, it on Friday granted six-week interim bail to Ravinder Dandiwal, who is also allegedly involved in international tennis match-fixing.

His counsel R.S. Sarao secured the bail from the court of Judicial Magistrate Ankita Gupta in Kharar in Mohali district on the plea that neither Dandiwal's name figures in the first information report (FIR) nor any circumstantial evidence was recovered by the police.

Also, there was no direct complaint against Dandiwal for his involvement in the crime.

The court also granted six-week interim bail to another accused Durgesh, who was arrested last week from Delhi.

Both were sent to judicial custody on Thursday after their five-day police remand ended. Simultaneously, both sought bail and the court reserved its decision for Friday.

Durgesh had allegedly supplied high-resolution cameras for live streaming of the matches of the fake Sri Lanka T-20 league.

Dandiwal, who is on the radar of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), is facing charges of hosting a cricket match of the Uva T20 league on June 29 that was aired in Sri Lanka through YouTube.

A BCCI team last week reached Mohali near here to question Dandiwal.

Earlier, the police informed the court that they received a fact-finding report from the BCCI regarding the fake league.

The cricket match, comprising small-time players largely from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, was played at a cricket academy in Sawara village, some 15 km from the state capital.

The police have identified 22 players who had played in the fake cricket league and questioned them.

The players were wearing face masks, ostensibly to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and had donned numbered jerseys.

"Ravinder Dandiwal has been arrested and we have been probing his role in this racket," Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police Kuldeep Singh Chahal had told the media soon after his arrest.

Earlier, the police had arrested Raju and Pankaj, who had booked the cricket ground of the Strokers Cricket Association for Rs 33,000 from June 29 to July 5 and had formed four teams for the league.

In a press statement, the SSP had said that a case in this regard was registered on July 2 under sections 420, 120B and other sections of the Indian Penal Code related to betting at Sadar Police Station in Kharar against Pankaj and others.

Pankaj, with his accomplice, had booked the ground and formed four teams for the tournament which they were planning to hold from June 29 to July 5.

"The said league was held in Sawara village but was shown as being held in Sri Lanka and relayed on various social media apps such as fancode APP, Diamond, Sky, Lotus, Tenbet, Spin, Punjab Exchange, for the purpose of earning huge amounts of money through betting," the police statement had said.

The Punjab police had also said that further investigation in the case led to the arrest of Dandiwal. "It was also revealed that he organised such fraudulent tournaments for many years in Mohali, Amritsar and Bhopal after forming a club named Cricket Club of India (CCI) in 2009. He also had links with various other big fishes in the world of betting."

The Sri Lankan cricket board had already denied their involvement in the tournament.

Dandiwal is known in the Chandigarh cricket circuit, and has been reportedly organising private leagues not recognised by the BCCI.

The BCCI ACU chief had earlier told IANS that some two-three years back, Dandiwal had wanted to hold a league in India which they were able to disrupt.

"He is focussed more on outside the country than in India," Singh had said.