It was a meeting that turned a bright left-arm spinner's world upside down. Around this time last year, Harmeet Singh, after playing a key role in India's Under-19 World Cup triumph, was the toast of the nation. Today, the tweaker finds himself in a deep mess, and in real danger of losing valuable years of his career, unless the BCCI acts fast.

As the spot-fixing scandal during IPL 6 raged, a story appeared that Harmeet too had been 'approached' by the bookies but they felt he was 'too young to carry out the deal'. Things have never been the same for Harmeet again. Despite being a bright prospect, the 20-year-old hasn't been selected for any of the India squads. He had moved from Mumbai to Vidarbha a few months back, but has been forced to make a U-turn after they refused to play him till he was cleared by BCCI. He wants to play for Mumbai again, but here too, he faces the same problem.

"We cannot have any discussion with him unless the board clears him and he gets an NOC from Vidarbha," said PV Shetty, Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) joint secretary.

In March, you met a few bookies in Mumbai. Can you tell us what happened?

After a Times Shield game, I was supposed to have dinner with a friend called Hitesh and Ajit Chandila, who I knew for five years, since we both play for Air India. Chandila called us to a hotel in Bandra. He then asked me to meet his 'cousins and friends'. Just before entering their room, Chandila told me to nod and say 'yes' to whatever they would say. Before I could ask him why, he pulled me inside the room and introduced me to his 'cousins'- there were three of them.

They were wearing fancy gold chains and rings and that made me a bit suspicious. They asked me to 'gain a bit of experience by playing in three-four games for the Rajasthan Royals'. I realised what they were hinting at. I sternly told them: 'I am not into all this' and they seemed to have got the message. Chandila then told them: 'Don't worry...Ankeet (Chavan) and Sreesanth are with us'. I was stunned to hear those names. I had known Ankeet for a long time and couldn't believe he would do something like this. Sreesanth was an India player. Why would he indulge in all this, I thought? While driving back, I asked him what was all this about. I also told him that I didn't want to make money like this. He clarified: 'I know them for long...they were just kidding. Don't worry. You don't have to do anything.' Today, I fear that those three-four minutes in that room may just destroy my career.

Why didn't you report this incident to the board, or the Royals management, or police?

I trusted Chandila when he said it was a joke. Sometimes, friends do say these things in a light-hearted way. I too was conscious about not putting anyone who is innocent in trouble. But I chose to keep my distance from him after this incident. I thought if I saw this guy was doing any hanky-panky in the IPL, I would report him. Honestly, he did nothing that appeared suspicious. He bowled well, except in the game against Pune Warriors, which came under the scanner eventually.

Sreesanth's friend Jiju Janardhan used to be with us in the team room, but since he had been a cricketer himself, I had no clue about stuff that emerged later. Then, all hell broke loose when three players from our team were arrested in Mumbai. We were scared to death. All the players were insecure. Since Chandila had taken a few other players, especially foreigners, in our team to a few parties, I thought if even one player reports an approach, I would reveal my case to back him up. But I was too petrified about approaching anyone.

So when did you approach the cops?

When false stories began circulating about my so-called meeting with the bookies. I contacted RR CEO Raghu Iyer, who told me to speak to ACSU (Anti-Corruption Security Unit) chief Ravi Sawani. He set up my meeting with Delhi Police, who were very kind to me. They told me right away: 'We know you are clean. You have said 'No' to the bookies. We just need you to be a witness so that we can punish the guilty.' They wanted to slap MCOCA on the bookies. I identified two of the bookies, whom I had ended up meeting in Mumbai and gave my statement. I asked them to give me a letter about my innocence. I then recorded a similar statement in front of Sawani in Mumbai.

This episode must have shattered you?

I am a God-fearing Sikh and I know I am clean. What matters is that my family believes in me.

Harmeet Singh More stills

Keywords:left-arm spinner, Harmeet Singh, World Cup , BCCI acts, IPL , NOC , Vidarbha, Mumbai Cricket Association,MCA,Hitesh , Ajit Chandila,Rajasthan Royals,Ankeet Chavan, Sreesanth, India player, Jiju Janardhan , bookies,CEO Raghu Iyer, ACSU,Anti-Corruption Security Unit, Ravi Sawani,Delhi Police, MCOCA,cricket news,sports news