Former cricketer sent to police custody for immigration racket (Second Lead)

April 27th, 2011 - 10:12 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 27 (IANS) Former Indian cricketer Jacob Martin, arrested here on charges of running an illegal immigration racket, was Wednesday remanded to eight days police custody. Police also found that he had taken around 20 men to England in 2004 as part of a bogus cricket team.

Martin, who has played 10 one-day internationals for India, was arrested from Babarpur area of east Delhi Tuesday night, Deputy Commissioner of Police R.A. Sanjeev told IANS.

He was produced in the Dwarka court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Rajesh Kumar Goyal.

“Jacob is remanded to police custody till May 4,” the court said. “Allegations against the accused are serious … the accused was involved in human trafficking.”

Martin’s involvement in the racket came to light after a man, Nimesh Kumar, was deported from London in Britain in 2004 with a fake Indian passport.

Kumar was deported after police found that the UK Home Office stamp affixed to his passport was forged. Kumar had come to Britain in September and was deported three months later.

Kumar told police that an agent, Rajender Bhai Patel, arranged his journey to Britain with the help of Martin and a Britain-based agent, Janak Lal Bhogi Raj Pancholi, for Rs.7 lakh.

During Martin’s questioning, police found out that he had started a bogus ‘Ajwa Cricket Club’ at Vadodara in Gujarat in 2004.

“He told us that he took around 20 players to England in 2004 and facilitated the illegal stay of Kumar on the basis of forged documents,” said Sanjeev.

“We checked with the Gujarat Cricket Association and found that the club was not even registered there. The team was bogus. We will investigate all the people who travelled to England under Martin. We also want to verify whether they were even cricketers,” added the officer.

Police also found that the team played a few cricket matches in Britain.

“We are also investigating how many times Martin took this team to England and in how many human trafficking cases he is involved,” said Sanjeev.

He said that while others travelled on their own passports, it was only Kumar who had a forged passport. This was provided by Martin and the India-based agent Patel.

Martin, who eluded police since 2004, finally landed in the police net after lengthy court cases. The police first issued a non-bailable warrant against him last year.

“Pancholi, who was in Britain, helped Martin during the team’s journey,” said Sanjeev. Pancholi was declared a proclaimed offender.

Police raided Martin’s home in Vadodara but he was missing.

Martin filed an application for anticipatory bail Feb 1 at the Dwarka Court. But it was dismissed and the court asked him to join investigations immediately.

Martin approached the Delhi High Court Feb 19 for an anticipatory bail and to quash the Dwarka court’s March 5 order.

Both the petitions were dismissed April 8, with the direction to him to surrender within seven days.

But Martin still eluded police.

He then filed a petition for anticipatory bail at the Supreme Court April 18, which too was dismissed April 19.

The Delhi Police then announced a reward of Rs.25,000 for anyone providing information on Martin’s whereabouts.

Martin made his first class debut for Baroda in the 1991-92 Ranji Trophy season. He came to be regarded as a specialist batsman and part-time spin bowler.

He also captained Vadodara from 2000-01, winning the Ranji Trophy that season.

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