Bookies flee Mumbai as police tighten screws

Bookies flee Mumbai as police tighten screws

Bookies flee Mumbai as police tighten screws

With the ICC Cricket World Cup just a few days away, the Mumbai Police have stepped up vigilance over bookies in the city, but several of them have moved out of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who also holds the home portfolio, has asked the police to ensure no bets are placed in the city.

Mumbai Police Chief Rakesh Maria has ordered police stations and Crime Branch-CID units to step up vigilance and spare no one.

“Following a major crackdown on bookies in 2013, the police have managed to cripple operations of betting rackets involving bookies, hawala operators and middlemen in the city. Since then, they have moved out of Mumbai and its suburbs,” sources said.

Besides the underworld, the investigation has revealed players, umpires, match officials and team owners involved in the racket.

Focus has now turned to February 15, when India takes on arch rivals Pakistan in their opening encounter, when bets worth crores are expected to change hands.

“Betting is as good as an organized crime and we would not tolerate such activities,” police officials said, adding that close coordination is being maintained with the police in other metros and cities. 

“Some of the big bookies would operate from outside the country in safe havens,” said an official.

Bookies are adopting the new tactics of accepting bets on the mobile phone while on the move to avoid detection. “This mode of operation has come to light during the previous World Cup. They often change routes to avoid detection,” the sources said.

The ICC World Cup gets underway in Australia and New Zealand. India beat Sri Lanka in the finals in Mumbai to lift the Cup in 2011.

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