Arbaaz grilled, admits to IPL betting

Arbaaz grilled, admits to IPL betting

Actor-cum-filmmaker Arbaaz Khan

Bollywood actor-filmmaker Arbaaz Khan was on Saturday grilled by the Thane police for close to six hours — during which he admitted to placing bets on IPL cricket matches.

The name of Arbaaz, the producer of the successful Dabangg series, figured during the interrogation of bookie Sonu Yogendra Jalan alias Sonu Malad alias Sonu Batla.

A veteran bookmaker, Sonu (41), has links with the underworld syndicate controlled by Karachi-based don and global terrorist Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar.

On Saturday, following a summons by the Anti-Extortion Cell (AEC) of the Crime Branch of Thane police, 50-year-old Arbaaz appeared before the police during which he was grilled by a team of officers led by senior inspector Pradeep Sharma, the veteran encounter specialist who heads the Thane-AEC.

Arbaaz had apparently placed Rs 2.8 crore bets on IPL matches but not in the recently-concluded 2018 season.

A few months ago, Sharma and his team arrested Dawood’s brother Iqbal Kaskar in an extortion racket spread over Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

“I cannot say anything about the investigations,” deputy commissioner of police (Crime) Abhishek Trimukhe said.

There is a possibility of the actor-producer being made a witness in the case.

“I have replied to whatever the police has asked...It’s an ongoing investigation,” a visibly shaken Arbaaz told reporters.

The actor, who was accompanied by Shera, Salman Khan’s bodyguard, said he cooperated with the police. “I have cooperated and will continue to cooperate,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sharma said the police have recorded Arbaaz’s statement. “If required, we will call him again,” he said.

To a specific query on Arbaaz being made a witness in the case, he said: “We have not yet decided whether Arbaaz Khan is a witness or not...Investigations are continuing.”

Sharma confirmed that the police has found a “link” between Sonu and Arbaaz. Several prominent personalities are expected to be grilled.

Thane-AEC said Sonu was arrested in connection with a massive betting racket that the Dombivli police busted on May 16. The police had arrested four bookies — Gautam Savla, Nitin Punjani, Nikhil Sampat, and Khushal Khimji from a shop at Dombivli.

Sonu is part of the betting syndicate run by Junior Kolkata linked to 80-odd big bookies operating across the country and has several celebrities as his clients.

He has clients in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistani, South Africa and Saudi Arabia and his gang members run betting rackets in Delhi, Kolkata, Rajasthan and Haryana.

AEC sleuths seized a diary from Jalan containing details of fellow bookies and his clients.

A CD and a line machine were also seized.

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