Cricket betting connection emerges in Lajpat Nagar heist

The probe into the Rs 7.69 crore heist in Lajpat Nagar hints that the robbed money may have been used to place bets in the ongoing India-New Zealand cricket series.

The suspicion arose because one of the victims is   Kalkaji-based businessman Rajesh Kalra, who was arrested in the cricket match-fixing scandal of 2000 involving former South Africa captain Hansie Cronje.

The fourth ODI of the five-match series was being played in Hamilton when the heist was reported on Tuesday morning. India lost the match by seven wickets, while New Zealand leads the series 3-0.

In the 93-page chargesheet filed in the 2000 match-fixing case, police had booked Kalra along with Cronje, London bookie Sanjeev Chawla, music baron Gulshan Kumar’s brother Kishan Kumar, currently Gulf-based bookie Sunil Dara and currently US-based bookie Mohan Khatter.

It is alleged that Kalra was in constant touch with Cronje during the 2000 cricket series between India and South Africa. 

In fact, sources said, a mobile phone gifted to Cronje was bought by Kalra.

After being in jail for months in 2000, Kalra was released on bail, but it is suspected that he continues to be in contact with bookmakers. He is also suspected to have placed bets on Indian Premier League matches.

During the 2000 match-fixing case, the Enforcement Directorate had claimed that Kalra was involved in transfer and subsequent deposit of money in banks abroad. 

Kalra also disclosed some information on hawala channels through which money was sent to London and then deposited by kingpin Sanjeev Chawla in various accounts of the South African cricketers named in the case.

Suspicion of betting has also been raised as the money involved in Tuesday's robbery was to be deposited in banks under ‘real time gross settlement systems' (RTGS)’. This is a system in which transfer of money is not subjected to any waiting period. 

Investigators also suspect that the robbed amount is being under-declared to evade trouble from Income Tax Department and Enforcement Directorate.

Sources said Sandeep, an employee of the businessmen, is now under the scanner. Sandeep was traveling in a Hyundai i20 car which was following the victims' Honda City car for security, but got stuck in traffic. Police found contradictions in his statement.

A list of employees of Kalra and business partner Rahul Ahuja has also been prepared.Two criminals lodged in Tihar Jail are also among around 100 persons who have been questioned in the last 24 hours.

They have been questioned as police suspect involvement of Haryana's Ashok Ghogha gang and Mehrauli's Vijay Pehelwan gang. 

Ghogha is lodged in Rohtak Jail. Four sketches have also been prepared on the basis of  descriptions provided by the victims.

Police have also received call data records of about 10,000 calls from different service providers, and investigators are examining suspicious calls made during the time of the robbery.

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