Interview with Delhi police commissioner Neeraj Kumar for Teekhi Baat on IBN 7 on Spot Fixing
PC: For the first time one can see police commissioner batting sixer in a slog over
NK: (laughs) It is good.
PC: With few weeks remaining in active policing, you’ve hit a sixer, did you spot a loose ball
NK: (laughs) It is a loose ball, hence (I) hit a sixer.
PC: It wasn’t a no ball
NK: It wasn’t a no ball.
PC: You shook the whole country through this, and it seems you kept quiet thereafter.
NK: This is true and false. True because we didn’t take anybody’s name, about any team or player, till that extent it is true. And wrong because we are investigating, and very soon some names from teams would be revealed. But we were and are quiet because till we don’t get evidence, material, against them, we don’t want to tar anybody’s reputation or name.PC: I understand. When you caught Sreesanth, you would have prepared for two- four months; you would have tapped phones, why did you only target Sreesanth.
NK: Not only Sreesanth, there are two more players, Chandila and Ankit Chauhan.
PC: Sreesanth is a big name
NK: Whether it is a small or a big name, we will reveal it, but we can only take names against whom we have evidence.
PC: You only focussed on Rajasthan Royals, it may be that Delhi police saved Delhi players due to soft corner.
NK: I am talking about the breakthrough we got, am not saying that nothing would not have happened before. May be it would have happened, even in Delhi matches, I do not deny that. But when we had chance discovery in our investigation that some players are speaking to bookies, and the books are speaking to cricketers, then we became alert.
PC: You got to know this via phone conversation
PC: Or your people who keep moving about
NK: No, we got to know via phone conversations. After which we listened to those conversations carefully, and names of three players were revealed, and it also became clear that they were being compromised, and certain works are getting done through them. We followed it, and found that what was spoken in the phone intercepts is being delivered. We saw one player doing it first, but we didn’t do anything, we kept quiet. We allowed the second player and the third one to do it, when all three had delivered, then we swooped down.
PC: What was common among the trio? Were they working together?
NK: They were not working together. Whenever such compromise happens, it happens at an individual level, unless the whole team is compromised. The evidence that we have now is regarding one to one compromise.
PC: You would have had focussed attention on many players and bookies during investigation
NK: We are keeping a watch, but cannot name anybody now.
PC: How many teams names who surface you feel?
NK: One more team is on our radar and four more players.
PC: Are they of national, international or local level. I am not asking you their names.
NK: They are national level players.
PC: Which means you would hit more sixes
NK: We will do what is appropriate. We will go and front foot and hit a six, or play defensive if required.
PC: Hence four big players that are on your radar
NK: Not big ones, I said they are from our country. They have not played for national team.
PC: They are playing in IPL
NK: They are playing in IPL.
PC: You feel that the national team is very clean
NK: I do not say this. I will term anybody clean or unclean when I have material. Hence, we have to presume that all our players are clean. And if some evidence emerges against anybody, then that person is unclean.
PC: Do you feel that these few new players that are only playing in IPL, not in the national team are following others since they have more accessibility.
NK: When we follow somebody, we do that on basis of material evidence and proof. One may catch a big person too, but currently we have proof against players who have not played for the country.
PC: They would be players for some big franchise?
NK: I don’t have information status of franchisees as compared to each other, for us all franchisees are equal.
PC: A team of Delhi police officers, some have whom have formerly worked in CBI have done this operation; you would also have tracked many bookies and players and head names??
NK: Merely hearing names is not enough, and we don’t follow players just be hearing their names. The sportsperson who we caught, were not on basis of fact that their names were taken, but we caught them when they delivered their promises, gave indications which they promised.
PC: Now you would be watching the video’s of the players who are under your radar
PC: Because you police team had gone to Chandigarh
NK: None of our team went to Chandigarh.
PC: Hence you are not doing anything in Chandigarh
PC: Then in what state are you investigating
NK: If I name the state, everything would be revealed. It is a matter of one, two days before we reveal and name people against whom we have proof.
PC: You will arrest them
NK: Certainly, if there is evidence strong enough to arrest them.
PC: In today’s date you don’t have enough proof to arrest them
PC: But you are progressing in that direction
PC: You caught three players and are going after four now, but you are asking for evidence from Mumbai police now. Was your police in a hurry that it left the laptop, phones and other things belonging to the players.
NK: When we do an operation, some formalities have to be completed; we made an entry at Maine Drive police station, and got players from there. Some luggage would have been left, but our investigation has not got affected, If it would have, we would not have arrested the sportsman.
PC: You went to Mumbai, hence you would have had conversation details of players there, hence you would also have had details of people caught by Mumbai police
NK: Work is going on in different modules, the whole country’s police is cracking down on bookies now. You would have heard about Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Mumbai. Before you ask me if there is any competition, I would like to tell you that police is a big fraternity, one big brotherhood and we don’t compete against each other. We don’t want to score brownie points over each other.
PC: But it is not co-ordinated
NK: Work is going on different modules, even in terror cases, there are different terror modules. It may be possible that Chennai police may catch one module, we catch second module, third module may be caught by Jammu and Kashmir. There is no interference and no work gets spoiled due to this. But if need be and if our paths cross each other, if there is any overlap, then we speak to each other.
PC: There may be an overlap between you and Mumbai
NK: There is an overlap, I am in touch with Commissioner of Police, Mumbai. He is in US, even then I have conversations with him.
PC: On some issues, Delhi and Mumbai police would have to work together?
NK: Mumbai and Delhi police would have to work together on some aspects
PC: In new cases or the same cases in which you caught three players
NK: If they material regarding Sreesanth which they have collected is relevant for our evidence, then we may request Mumbai police to hand it over
PC: During phone tracking, you would have got some leads which would be incomplete and you would complete them after getting together with Mumbai police, hence do you feel you would get something more from this case, or is the module over?
NK: This module is over as far as the three players in this team is concerned. I don’t feel that laptop, ipad or other material that they have, we will get anything regarding this team. Yes but regarding Sreesanth, we may get some more evidence.
PC: There was talk of big don, mafia, behind Sreesanth or others, you did not get any such input in conversations intercepted?
NK: Sreenath has not spoken to any underworld don or any such element.
PC: Not even any big person
NK: He used to speak to his friend Jiju and contact bookies via Jiju. These bookies were in touch with some elements who seem to be from underworld.
PC: Even in Delhi there are big bookies, you would have investigated Delhi District and Cricket Association, and found members. Have you investigated it
NK: There is a need to investigate if there are any lead that points towards a direction, so far there is nothing that have come forward regarding Delhi team or DDCA
PC: When one is in DDCA, one gets access.
NK: Our investigation does not reveal anything as such
PC: No bookie is member of DDCA
PC: You target was bookies or match fixing players
NK: There was no target. We got evidence regarding them. We can only arrest people against whom we have proof.
PC: From how many months was the investigation on
NK: From middle or March
PC: You got hint about the bookies and you identified them
NK: Yes, the bookies that we have caught are of big level
PC: It is said that Delhi police image was getting affected badly, hence you made a big revelation which shook the whole country. You started it, and Mumbai police is taking it forward, how true is it?
NK: I will take it as a big compliment, that we have such capability that we fixed bookies first, then fixed players via them, and made players make mistakes, and them made them agree that we will arrest them, Why? Because we want to improve image, (laughs)
PC: I am telling that you had the case, you were waiting for the right time
NK: Not at all, like I told you, in middle of March, we intercepted some numbers, we got to know some things, it was followed up, which revealed three names, when all there delivered on their promises one by one, we made the arrests
PC: Now days even on tv debates there are allegations that players are being protected by big people, every match gets over in the last over, is it true that you saved somebody big or your vision did not go there?
NK: This is a hypothesis and theory, but no case is formed due to it, or investigation happens. You may have any hypothesis, but when we arrest somebody or reveal somebody’s name, if I have no material, then I would be ruining somebody’s career, reputation. So, I as a responsible police officer, will not say anything, against anybody, unless I am doubly sure, and unless I have enough material
PC: The charge against Mumbai police and you is that investigation is being diverted to small people? They caught a big one in the son in law or N. Srinivasan, there was evidence, but there is no name of any other big political people, or other big people, do you feel all are clean Because you have no news or information regarding them.
NK: We have no information or lead as such.
PC: Hence, no political person is involved
NK: In our investigation, no political person have been found involved uptill now
PC: No franchisee owner is involved
PC: How big this scandal is according to you
NK: It is very difficult to estimate this because in big and small cities, in many gullies, betting happens. But betting come fixing is not constricted compared to overall betting rings
PC: You feel fixing is less betting is more
NK: Yes, because only those bookies who have access to players, who can compromise players, their numbers are comparatively less.
PC: New bookies would have access to players, not with the big players.
NK: Even that cannot be said, it is unfair to say that they would not have connections with big players, maybe some big bookies has connection with big players.
PC: But they have not come under your radar
NK: They have not come under our radar
PC: There is as talk of legalizing betting, it is a big business, it is legal in many countries
NK: I don’t think the issue will be resolved by legalizing it. Because the people who do betting in our country, they don’t do it by cheque, it is done in cash, via black money, when you legalize it, betting would have to be done by cheque, you would have to bet by cheque and prize money would also be given by cheque. But people here have a lot of black money and they do betting by using black money.
PC: You are talking of feasibility or like a police officer
NK: I am talking like a police officer, even if it is legalized, the betting in which black money, fixing, hawala, underworld, is involved, will continue as it is.
PC:Which means there is no benefit by legalizing betting
NK: The benefit would be that the genuine betters who engage in small bets as a hobby, and bet via white money, for them it is good. Like presume if there is any legalized lottery, then you make payment by cheque and you receive money by cheque,
PC: You have been serving in the police for 37 years and watching all these issues, do you feel that there is an underworld connection in all this. I am not taking anybody’s name.
NK: There talk of underworld connection has been going on for a long time,
PC: Even now it is on
NK: Even now it is on, it is true
PC: You are not able to reach that underworld
NK: We are not getting the evidence,
PC: Even if you have evidence, you would not be able to reach to those people
NK: There are some difficulties of that type also, but we have no evidence against any particular underworld don or such network,
PC: You have doubt that they may be involved
NK: We do not work on basis of doubt
PC: You have an impression that they may be involved
NK: May be involved
PC: In the past six months, Delhi police commissioner has been in controversy, chief minister demanded resignation, don’t you think police should be accountable to the electoral chief minister.
NK: See, this is a decision of the government, the system in Delhi is a decision of the government that we will report to the Lieutenant Governor, under the Delhi Police Act, section 4, and we work under the supervision of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the LG has been appointed by an elected government, the home secretary has been appointed by an elected government, and home minister is an elected government’s elected representative of people .Hence to say the one does not work under elected people, is not right.
PC: Meaning, directly elected, whom the people of Delhi have elected, made chief minister, after that CM does not even have to transfer chief minister, or she cannot even call Neeraj Kumar and give some advice, don’t you feel,
NK: It is wrong to say that she cannot advice, we have gathering and interactions every day, there is discussion regarding local issues, hence it is a wrong impression
PC: Which means you don’t report them, but meet the chief minister frequently
NK: We meet often, discuss if there are any issues,
PC: You don’t feel there is need for changing the system
NK: No, this is not my decision; this is the decision of the government. What the government wants
PC: In other states the system is different, but because Delhi is a union territory?
NK: Not only in Delhi, but the capital cities of other countries too works under the federal government,
PC: Hence it is federal structure.
PC: Thank you for coming to our studio
NK: Thank you, Prabhuji !