Mumbai, May 28 (PTI): A SIM card given to Pakistani umpire Asad Rauf by a wanted bookie was destroyed at the instance of Vindoo Randhawa before the actor’s arrest in the IPL betting scam, Mumbai crime branch today told a court here which extended his police remand till May 31.
Additional Metropolitan Magistrate A M Padwad also extended the crime branch custody of Alpesh Patel, a hawala operator, and Prem Taneja, a conduit for the bookies, under arrest in the same case, till the end of this month.
Seeking further custody of Vindoo, who has emerged as a key figure in the IPL betting racket, prosecutor Kiran Bendbar said the SIM card was given by absconding bookmaker Sanjay Jaipur to controversial Pakistani umpire Rauf whom the actor asked to destroy it before being arrested.
The investigators, he said, intended to probe deeper into the nexus between Vindoo and Rauf, who has been in the limelight for wrong reasons in the past, and Sanjay Jaipur, whom the reality TV show Bigg Boss season 3 winner had helped escape to Dubai.
The prosecutor said the crime branch also intended to confront Vindoo and others arrested in the case with Ashwin Agarwal alias Tinku, arrested by the special cell of Delhi police. Mumbai Police had yesterday secure a production warrant for bringing Tinku here for interrogation.
Defence counsel Satish Maneshinde contested the grounds cited by the prosecution for seeking extension of Vindoo’s custody, saying the charge levelled against the actor was of betting, which is a bailable offence. The actor, he said, was not involved in match-fixing.
Maneshinde said police has had the custody of Vindoo for sufficient period of time and assured the court that his client would be available to the police as and when required.
Magistrate Padwad, however, rejected the defence’s contentions and extended the custody of 49-year-old Vindoo, Patel and Taneja till May 31, saying “there are sufficient grounds for extending their police custody.”
Speaking briefly to the media outside the court, Vindoo claimed, “I am innocent…I am being harassed.”
His Russian model wife Dina Umarova alleged the actor was being “victimised”.
Before his name cropped up in the IPL fixing scandal, Mumbai-based model Leena Kapoor had accused Rauf of sexually exploiting her on several occasions on the promise of marrying her though the umpire denied the allegation.
Rauf was pulled out of the elite panel of umpires for the Champions Trophy by the ICC after his name surfaced in the IPL spot-fixing racket.