Cricket betting: for punters, WhatsApp was the way to operate

When WhatsApp has become most preferred channel of communication, by sharing information at the tap of cellphones, how can the tech savvy people in the world of crime remain behind?

The district Crime Intelligence Bureau (DCIB) police investigating into the betting racket that was busted recently, have been left baffled with perpetrators operating with code language on the social networking site. What makes it intriguing further is the names of the groups all in codes; either in numreicals or alphabets.

SP K Annamalai told DH, “The investigators have taken it as a case study, and it would indeed be a model investigation for others.”

‘Katthe’ (Donkey in English) was the code language of bettors and bookies who are suspected to have indulged in huge transaction. Following this, the investigators have written to managers of banks seeking details of transactions related to seven bank accounts of the suspects from the past five years.

The laptop and cellphones seized from the suspects helped investigators get deep into the racket that unfolded mines of intersting details. While there are not less than minimum 40 to maximum 150 members in every WhatsApp group, most of the numbers of the members have been saved in codes like 1, 2, 340, 350, 405 to name a few.

‘Katthe’ for Ravi

City Municipal Council Member Ravikumar alias ‘Kayi,’ Ravi who was arrested along with his aides recently, was using the code ‘Katthe’ and ‘507.’ While in another group, except for the name ‘Vijay,’ all others are named either in English alphabets or numericals. While some of the codes have been decoded, it is exactly opposite in the case of others. It may become easier to crack, once the main bookies are apprehended, the investigators said.

The dedicated group for betting is named as ‘Thuntaata’ (which translates into Pranks in English) which is also believed to be the central line of the racket. It has 150 members and six admins, including people from Rajasthan, Delhi, Mumbai, and two from Chikkamagaluru itself.

During every cricket matches, each and every minute details related to number of balls bowled in particular over, fall of wickets if any, scores were updated, needless to say in code language to enable the punters to stake. For example in case of any ball bowled, the code was ‘*’ along with the run scored for the particular ball. In case the batsman misses to hit, it was indicated with ‘0,’ while for the fall of wicket the code was ‘#’.

Such was the rule that no others, except the anonymous person who was tasked with updating the group, was allowed to react. If any other members reacted to post, they were removed from the group in a jiffy.

They had taken to code language only to dodge intelligence personnel attached to police wing, as revealed by the suspects during interrogation.

CMC member, others get bail

City municipal council member Ravikumar and five of his aides who were arrested on the charge of cricket betting were granted bail on Tuesday.

Ravikumar and others, who had earlier been produced before the court of principal district and sessions judge Raju on February 5, had been remanded to judicial custody till February 18.

Meanwhile, the court has turned down the anticipatory bail plea of Malalur gram panchayat member Hoysala. Hoysala, who is currently at large, is suspected to be involved in the racket.

On the other hand, police personnel are on the trail of two other bookies from Sakleshpur in Hassan district involved in the racket.

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