Mumbai: The statements of three Indian cricketers implicated in a TV sting operation, which claimed to have exposed corruption in IPL, were recorded by the Income Tax Department on Saturday.
"Their statements seem to be believable but we have not given them a clean chit yet," I-T sources said on Saturday. Five cricketers of different IPL teams were caught in a sting operation carried out by a private news TV channel where a reporter posed as an agent of a fictitious company scouting for players for other teams.
The channel had claimed the sting operation, telecast in May this year, had blown the lid off "murky deals" in the IPL among players, organisers and owners. Statements of three players -- Manish Pandey, Mohnish Mishra (both Pune Warriors India) and Shalabh Srivastava (Kings XI Punjab) -- were recorded recently.
Mishra, in his statement, has said his talks of getting Rs 1.5 crore from his owner was "a lie" and only meant to impress the middleman (the TV reporter).
Pandey has told the I-T department that he was paid Rs 20 lakh as player fee by his franchise and that the flat he stayed in was rented. Srivastava claimed whatever he said about Pandey (in the sting operation) was based on "hearsay", the sources said.
The department has also recorded the statement of Abhijeet Sarkar, Head of Corporate Communication of Sahara India, which owns Pune Warriors. The sources said the department was also probing the allegations of betting in IPL 5 though it is very difficult to ascertain the claims.