The police dragnet in the IPL spot-fixing and betting case further widened on Monday with the arrest of more bookies–including two who had links with their counterparts in Pakistan–in different places.
Goa Police arrested six bookies following a tip-off by Delhi Police, who are likely to seek their custody for interrogation over the case lodged with special cell on May 9. The accused have been identified as Ketan Chavra, Amit Papat, Ritesh Patel, Paresh Azhar, Sandeep Azhar and Nikunj Lalan.
Sources said their names cropped up during interrogation of arrested bookie Ashwani Aggarwal alias Tinku Mandy at Delhi Police special cell’s office at Lodhi Road. As part of the investigation, a police team was later sent to Goa. “Following the tip-off, a raid was conducted at a rented house near Candolim beach in north Goa which led to the arrests on Monday,” said S N Srivastava, special commissioner of police (special cell).
Sources said the accused accepted bets on Sunday’s IPL final between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. “Over 40 mobile phones and six laptops along with cash have been recovered from their possession,” sources added.
On being questioned, the bookies told police that they had been in Goa since the beginning of the IPL in April. Arrested bookie Ashwani has identified the accused through photographs and the CCTV footage provided by Goa Police. Srivastava said that the special cell team had been monitoring the bookies’ activity in Goa since last week over information received from an intercepted conversation. Delhi Police are likely to take their voice samples to match with recorded conversations.
Efforts are on to nab three people who allegedly used to “fix” deals on behalf of three cricketers other than those arrested by Delhi Police. The trio, who are being referred to as “fixers” by the Delhi Police, are from Nagpur and Jaipur and their names cropped up during the interrogation of Mohammed Yahya, a bookie arrested by Delhi Police from Hyderabad airport when he was trying to flee the country.
Meanwhile, Mumbai crime branch arrested two alleged bookies – Dinesh Sharma and Kishor Pablani – who accepted bets over phone from their counterparts in Pakistan.
According to crime branch, Ramesh Vyas, the kingpin of the racket whose arrest on May 14 exposed the scandal, had received calls from Pakistan and diverted them to Sharma and Pablani. These calls pertained to accepting bets from the neighbouring country, they said.
With this, 12 persons, including actor Vindoo Randhawa and CSK owner Gurunath Meiyappan, have been arrested so far by Mumbai police in connection with the betting case.
Police said absconding accused Jupiter and Vyas were in touch with each other on a particular phone and the instrument has been recovered.
In Ahmedabad, three persons were arrested at a temple for alleged betting deals.
Anil Kumar, Uttam Chand and Harshad Ramesh were arrested late last night with cash worth Rs 16,780, a laptop, a television set and seven cellphones from Ramji Mandir, police inspector V R Patel said.
In Chennai, accused in the IPL betting case Sanjay Kumar Bafna was arrested on Monday. Police said they are also on the lookout for a Chennai-based hotelier.
Chennai police had, on May 17, busted a betting racket and arrested six bookies and recovered Rs 14 lakh in cash, a day after three Rajasthan Royal cricketers, including pacer S Sreesanth, were arrested in the spot-fixing scandal. Later, police had arrested six more bookies from Coimbatore and Tirupur.