Plastic money made it easy for cricket betting

Most transactions were made online, RTGS method; demonetisation had no effect

 When the whole of country rattled following the demonetisation of high-value currency notes on November 8, call for plastic money became louder.

It seems those involved in cricket betting were quick to adapt to the change, as is evident during the course of investigation.

Most of the transactions related to the racket were made either through online, real time gross settlement (RTGS) method and also cheques, according to the details obatined from the bank. The bookies were transferring huge amount of money either from their current account or overdraft, said the investigators who deem it to be ‘economical offence.’

It also makes it easy for the police probing the case to prove the charges, with all transactions available black and white.

On Thursday, the police searched various places for two main bookies in Sakleshpur, Hassan district, but in vain. While a separate team has been formed to nab the kingpin, the main bookie believed to be in Bengaluru, hailing from Chikkamagaluru.

On the other hand, the suspects and others who were in constant touch, have been making frequent visits to police station for interrogation. It has become the order of the day from past three days, especially after the investigators zeroed in on 20 suspects on the basis of call details records (CDR).

The call details were traced from the cellphones of City Municipal Council member Ravikumar alias ‘Kayi’ Ravi and five of his aides who were arrested recently, and released later on bail. The list of suspects may get bigger in the later days, with those involved in the racket running their illegal activity through several WhatsApp groups formed for the purpose. Each group had 150 to 200 members.

Interestingly, fearing that police may reach them, some among the suspects have turned off their mobile phones and have gone underground. A jeweller from M G Road in Chikkamagaluru, who had made several calls to Ravikumar, was interrogated for two days. The jeweller, who claimed it to be a routine call to collect the amount due towards a product purchased from him, also succeeded in producing a receipt in support.

Ravikumar had purchased jewelry in his wife’s name. Following which, the police let off the jeweller after recording his statement.

Another gang operating a similar racket with financiers, chit fund operators among others indulge in betting has also come to light, said investigators.

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