Indian prosecutors charged bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and 38 others Tuesday with links to organised crime and cheating over their alleged role in spot-fixing in the Indian Premier League, a lawyer said.

Special public prosecutor Rajesh Mohan told AFP that the 39 had been formally charged under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act over alleged offences in the last edition of the tournament.

"The players and others have also been charged with criminal conspiracy, cheating and dishonesty," Mohan told AFP.

Sreesanth and two teammates from the IPL team the Rajasthan Royals, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, and numerous bookmakers were arrested over allegations of spot-fixing and betting during this year's edition of the Twenty20 tournament.

Delhi police told the trial court that the accused were "part of a larger betting syndicate" controlled by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and his aide Chhota Shakeel. The underworld figures have also been named as accused in the charge sheet, said Mohan.

Dawood, an Indian national thought to be living in Pakistan, has been accused by Indian authorities of crimes including the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts.

The accused cricketers "knowingly abetted the operation of this international organised crime syndicate", according to the police.

Sreesanth is the most famous of the three cricketers arrested, having played 27 Tests for India.

...,/.,