Potential corruptors were spotted at the Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi on different days of the IPL 2021 season, including during the May 2 match between Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad, BCCI's Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) chief Shabir Hussein Shekhadam Khandwawala told PTI. Two people with fake IPL accreditations were arrested by the Delhi Police on the day of that Royals-Sunrisers match.
In another incident - on a different match day, at the same venue - one man "in the garb of a cleaner" fled after ACU officials had caught him having a telephone conversation. He is currently being traced by Delhi police after the ACU managed to retrieved two mobile phones from him.
It was suspected that he could have been engaging in 'pitch-siding', which is the act of relaying information from the ground to a remote location to beat the delay in the TV feed. It can be used to get an advantage while betting on passages in play before the live computerised odds shift.
"One of my ACU officers caught a person and handed over the details to Delhi Police. While that particular offender managed to flee leaving behind his two mobile phones, ACU lodged a complaint with the Delhi Police," Hussein told PTI on Wednesday.
"We are thankful to Delhi Police that in a separate incident they caught two other persons from the Kotla on ACU tip-off.
"So on two separate days, these people managed to get access to Kotla. The one who fled came in the garb of a cleaner. However, we have all his details as he was employed for the tournament. His Aadhar Card details have been handed over to Delhi Police," Hussein said. "I am confident that he will be nabbed in a day or two. He is a small fry working for a couple of hundred or some thousand bucks may be."
The man who fled came under suspicion when he was spotted on the phone, by himself, in a secluded area.
"He was standing (inside Feroz Shah Kotla premises) in a secluded area all by himself and so one of our officers approached and asked him: 'What are you doing here?' He said: "Main apne girlfriend se baat kar raha hoon" [I am talking to my girlfriend].
"My officer then asked him to dial the number he was talking to and then asked him to hand over the phones. Just when he was going through the contents of his phone, the guy fled from the spot," Hussein said, without divulging which match-day this incident took place on.
"It was one of the evening matches in Delhi. He was wearing an ID card. Also what raised suspicion was he had two mobiles," he said.
"The information he may be supplying could be to someone more influential among bookmakers, and so we needed to inform the Delhi Police. Delhi Police has responded positively and thus next instance two people were arrested."
Hussain also confirmed that the ACU didn't receive any complaint of corrupt approaches being made to players or support staff involved in IPL during the 29 games that were held before the tournament was postponed.
"Obviously with bio-bubble and no crowd around, it certainly becomes a bit easier to manage as there is no physical proximity of questionable characters. When there is a crowd, it becomes difficult to check anyone and everyone," Hussein said.
He also said that during the Mumbai leg, the hotel in which the Sunrisers team was staying had three people with questionable records, and whose names were in the ACU database. However, they couldn't come in contact with any of the players.
"The moment we had information, we got in touch with Mumbai Police. The Police Commissioner of Mumbai took immediate cognisance and the Mumbai Police got hold of those three," he added.