By Ragini Shree, Jaipur
After Sakshi Dhoni, wife of Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, hit headlines for her photos with Vindoo Dara Singh, one more Sakshi is in the limelight for all wrong reasons.
Jaipur girl Sakshi Jhala, a lady friend of Sreesanth, has figured in the IPL spot fixing probe for the simple reason that she is close to tainted cricketer and was gifted a latest model of Blackberry mobile phone by him. The Delhi police, probing the spot fixing case, have seized the mobile phone which the cops feel Sreesanth bought with money earned from bookies.
But is Sreesanth-Jhala saga confined only to Blackberry? According to sources close to Jhala family, Sakshi Jhala is close to Sreesanth for last four years. She was introduced to Sreesanth by Sakshi Dhoni. Both Sakshis have been classmates at an institute in Aurangabad where they pursued a course in hotel management.
Daughter of Atul Jhala, a tour escort in luxury train Palace on Wheels of Rajasthan tourism development corporation, Sakshi Jhala was often seen with Sreesanth in post-match parties in Jaipur. However, she evaded spotlight as she was a lesser known personality that time. She was also seen watching a few matches along with Sakshi Dhoni in the stands of Sawai Man Singh (SMS) stadium in Jaipur without media glare.
But now things have changed and the media's prying eyes are searching Sakshi Jhala for a "reaction from her."
After completing the course, one Sakshi married Indian skipper and shot to limelight. The other Sakshi completed the course, underwent training at Rambagh hotel in Jaipur and worked with Kingfisher as airhostess until the airlines was shut down. According to sources close to Jhala family, Sakshi Dhoni introduced Sakshi Jhala to Sreesanth in Jaipur during IPL-2. Thereafter, Jhala was introduced to a few other "young cricketers" also.
"Sakshi (Jhala) is considered close to Sreesanth and other cricketers but it was just because of Sakshi Dhoni. It is unlikely that spot fixing has anything to do with this family" said an RTDC employee close to Atul.
Atul has clarified to the Delhi police that they hosted dinner for Sreesanth at their residence in C-scheme area on May 6. It was at this occasion that Sreesanth gifted a Blackberry Z-10 mobile phone to Sakshi Jhala and in return was gifted a poster of national animal - tiger.
What brought Delhi police to the doors of Jhala family is the fact that Sakshi Jhala's mother runs a girls' paying guest facility in Sodala area of the city. Now, Sakshi Jhala reportedly assists her mother in operating this facility.
"So far we have not touched that aspect in our probe. We are focused on role of bookies, cricketers and money exchange" said a member of Delhi police team who brought Sreesanth to Jaipur.
"We were not contacted by Delhi police about their visit here as such we are not supposed to probe role of paying guest facility. We will provide all possible help if Delhi police approaches us" said a senior official of Jaipur police commissionerate.
Sreesanth is reported to have disappeared from the SMS stadium as soon as a match ended early this month along with a lady who was sitting alongside Sakshi Dhoni. Now, the media reports are connecting Sreesanth's disappearance with the dinner hosted at Jhala's.
For now the Delhi cops seem to have given a clean chit to Jhalas as far as spot fixing is concerned. But the family is disturbed and Atul is calling his seniors offering clarifications.
In fact, errant Sreesanth is notorious for disappearing from the hotel and practice sessions of his team Rajasthan Royals. Once he jumped a wall of the SMS stadium, where the team was staying, to attend a late night party. The other day he remained missing from his hotel room and returned only in the morning.
When Rajasthan Royals team members went to Mumbai recently, Sreesanth preferred to stay back in Jaipur for reasons best known to him. He went to Mumbai later on his own. It was keeping in mind all these aspects that the Delhi police also took Sreesanth to a luxury hotel where he stayed for some days.
The police believe some bookies visited Sreesanth during his stay in the hotel. The cops checked Sreesanth's hotel and found he had pasted pictures of deities on the walls. The police also scanned details of calls made from the hotel room.
Meanwhile, the Jaipur police have revealed that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had suspicion about involvement of "some cricketers" in spot fixing. A BCCI team, tasked with tracking cricketers, approached Jaipur police in first week of May when the police busted a cartel of bookies and seized modern gadgets from them on May 5.
The police officials, who the BCCI team approached, claimed the team wanted to collect clues from interrogation of eight suspected bookies. The police had recovered a machine resembling mini telephone exchange with capacity of handling several calls together.
"We shared information that we had gathered through interrogation of bookies with the BCCI team" additional commissioner of police, crime, Girraj Lal Meena told the media.
The Jaipur police have also sent information about bookies arrested so far and unusual activities of Sreesanth to Delhi police.