Cricket and controversy go hand in hand. With the special investigating team saying that they would probe the IPL angle to the Sunanda Pushkar murder case, the first thing that comes to mind is that it is not going to easy and if not probed well could well end up like the Bob Woolmer mystery.
The Delhi police say that whoever has carried out the murder has done a professional job like a hit man and has left very little trail. Once we dig deeper into the possibility of an IPL angle it would only widen.
What is the IPL controversy?
In the year 2010, when a consortium purchased the Kochi Tuskers, Sunanda was given a sweat equity in the company. While all was calm for sometime a tweet battle between Lalit Modi and Shashi Tharoor led to several allegations.
It was alleged that Sunanda had been given a sweat equity in the IPL franchise only because Shashi Tharoor was lobbying for the team. This led to several issues with allegations and counter allegations and ultimately the team was shut down due to various other issues.
Cricket and betting:
Betting in cricket is probably as old as the game. The IPL had only made it worse and when the scam broke out two years back names tumbled like nine pins.
The majority of the betting syndicate and the most dangerous one is controlled by the Dawood syndicate. The entire betting empire is controlled out of Dubai and people who are part of teams or for that matter even state cricket associations have been victims of the betting syndicate.
Those officers who have investigated betting rackets say that the syndicte gets you to bet by using various tactics right from money, honey traps and also threats.
A few months after she died, there were murmurs in several circles which asked a pertinent question and that is -- did Sunanda know too much? The question is what is it that she knew?
She is reportedly have had outbursts with friends and family members in which she had reportedly spoken a lot about the IPL. She had lived in Dubai for a while and was she contacted or pressurized by anyone from the betting syndicate over there?
These are all pertinent questions that the Delhi police will ask when they probe this case. Today for the police the motive has become more important than the manner in which she died.
A professional murder most foul:
Speaking to a couple of officers one gets the impression that this was well planned and the intent was to make it look like a suicide. The Alprax which was initially termed to be the cause for the death was placed by her bed.
The Alprax was deliberately kept by her bed side with an intention of misguiding the investigators. The first look of it suggested that it was a case of suicide.
None dared to speak up:
There was none in fact who dared to come out and speak about the other side of the case to the investigators at that time. She had in fact called up a journalist to discuss about the IPL issue, but that meeting never took place.
The police had to rely solely on circumstantial evidence since there was not a single person who came forward to testify. The police had then taken an easy route to conclude that it was suicide.
Moreover the postmortem report also came in quick time or should we say hurried. It appeared as though there was some sort of teething hurry to close the case.
Even the autopsy process was conducted in violation of the Lt Governor of Delhi rules which clearly specifies that a three member expert group should conduct it. Moreover it also states that these members should belong to different institutions.
However in this case the three members who conducted the autopsy were all from the same institution AIMS. This runs contrary to the rules and none seemed to object at that point in time.
Probe with a Lion's heart:
The Delhi Police will have to probe this case especially an IPL angle with a Lion's heart. In many cases where there is cricket and controversy involved, the witnesses are never forthcoming.
There are deals that are struck from outside the country and it is never easy to bring seasoned criminals part of the D gang to India and question them. Each witness in a betting scandal is threatened and the stakes are so big that these many times do not remain threats.
Taking witnesses into confidence, ensuring complete confidentiality of the witnesses would go a long way in instilling confidence in those who wish to testify.
Moreover officers say that there is bound to be pressure when we touch upon an IPL issue. We faced the same kind of pressure during our probe into the IPL betting scam. Officers will have to probe with no fear and a Lion's heart to get to the bottom of this issue.