BJP councillor, 6 others held in betting racket

BJP councillor, 6 others held in betting racket

A sitting councillor of the BJP is among seven people to be arrested in Chikkamagaluru on Sunday for running cricket betting through a WhatsApp group.

C S Ravikumar, who represents ward number 29 in the City Municipal Council, was apprehended by the District Crime Intelligence Bureau. He is said to be close to the BJP Chikkamagaluru MLA, C T Ravi.

Other suspects are Abhi, a close aide of Ravikumar, Prashanth, a resident of Kote, Venkatesh, a lorry operator, Mohan, a fertiliser trader, and Afzal, who is secretary of a place of worship. Police said they had seized Rs 1.90 lakh in cash, cheque leaves and mobile phones. The eighth suspect, a GP member, is at large.

Chikkamagaluru SP, K Annamalai, said the suspects had contacts with bookies within and outside Karnataka. “We also have evidence that a few elected representatives are also part of this racket,” he told DH.

The group became active in 2014 and set up hotlines in Bengaluru and Sakleshpur. It went on to spread its network to Mumbai and Mysuru. Ravikumar created a WhatsApp group to lure members, and transactions took place online.

Annamalai said at least Rs 50 lakh was transacted during the Big Bash League of Australia, the recent T20 series between England and India and the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

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