Tamil Nadu Police on Friday claimed to have busted an IPL betting racket after they arrested six bookies and recovered Rs.14 lakh.
Crime Branch (CID) SPs Perumal and S Rajeswari said the suspected mastermind was operating from Delhi. They said “it is just betting as of now...(a case of) cheating the public” and the probe so far has not suggested any match-fixing angle. The arrests were followed by searches at 13 locations in the city, they told a packed press conference here.
The arrests of six bookies, all hailing from Chennai, came after investigations showed that they were being given instructions from someone “supervising them” from Delhi and call records had been traced to Ahmedabad and Hyderabad, Rajeswari said while stressing that it was a “very big network”.
Police received information on Thursday that some people were cheating public after promising hefty returns on betting. Police formed 13 special teams and soon picked up one Harish Bajaj, who led them to the rest of the five.
Rajeswari said the tip off came from an aggrieved punter who did not get the cut he was promised. The accused have been identified as Lucky, Gautam, Vedachalam, Deepak Bajaj and Sunil Bajaj.
During the raids, the police stumbled upon a “high-tech” and “well-planned” office from where they recovered Rs 14 lakh, computers, laptops, mobile phones and fixed lines. The dragnet could widen and more people are likely to be picked up.
The betting on the outcome of the match was largely confined to the ongoing IPL though the bookies held bettings on other cricket tournaments and the money placed as bets ranged from Rs 1,000 to Rs 5 lakh.
The business was being done through word of mouth with each of the bookie having a list of customers.
“They inform the customers through phones. An individual has paid up to Rs 5 lakh and the money transaction was done through a courier,” Rajeswari said. The winners were paid 40-60 per cent of the profit and that was also decided by those in Delhi, she said.
The accused, most of whom are businessmen, also financed those customers who were in need of it.
Asked if the state police was coordinating with its Delhi counterparts, Rajeswari replied in the negative but did not rule out such a possibility.
Rajeswari said cases had been filed against the accused for criminal conspiracy and cheating under Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Tamil Nadu Gambling Act.