Police to use KCOCA to rein in cricket betting?

The district police who are leaving no stone unturned to rein in unabated cricket betting are preparing towards exercising stringent law under Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act (KCOCA).

The police are of the opinion that those indulging in even street gambling have been escaping the clutches of law, as the existing law under Section 78 (111) of Karnataka Police Act 1963 gives impunity. No sooner are the gamblers held on particular charges, than they walk out free with the help of personal surety bonds at the station-level itself.

Hence, the police are all set to wield the baton of the KCOCA, by bringing offences like cricket betting, gambling among other cases under organised crimes. According to the Act, the suspects will not to be given bail till six months from their arrest, according to sources in the Police Department.

It was the same Control of Organised Crimes Act that gave the edge to the Maharashtra police who had, for the first time, invoked the Act against underworld don Bannanje Raja.
Coming back to betting racket busted in Chikkamagaluru, the suspects – City Municipal Council member Ravikumar alias ‘Kayi’ Ravi and five of his aides – arrested by the police were booked under various sections.

It included the Information Technology (IT) Act 2000 as the suspects were using advance software and also WhatsApp social networking site to run the racket. Another case was booked under section 420 of IPC following a complaint of a youth who had lost heavily in betting. However, it could not stop the suspects from coming out of bars, as they succeeded in securing bail within three days. It was nothing but a result of absence of stringent law that could keep the suspects behind bars for sometime, the police say.

‘Traitors’ in dept

The police who had been keeping a tab on such activities in the past too, were all set to bust the racket during the previous Indian Premier League (IPL) season. However, the perpetrators remained elusive, even as the SP Chetan in the year 2014 had formed a special squad for the purpose. Santosh Babu, the previous SP, had also conducted a raid at Vijayapura in town, but in vain. All of this was thanks to the informants within the Department, who had failed the men in khaki by tipping those involved in illegal activity in advance, as it was found out later.

Warning

Santosh Babu, who learnt of the involvement of four CMC members, had also warned of externing them from the district, if they continued with their activities. The officer also went to the extent of warning a CMC member to shoot below his knee, after he was found taken photographs along with ill-gotten wealth.

Babu, wanted to hit the racket hard, but suffered a setback after DySP Kallappa Handibag ended his life over the kidnap row. Tejas Gowda, also a known punter, had been kidnapped then. When the case was handed over to criminal investigation department (CID), ADGP Prathap Reddy promised to get to the root of the betting problem by probing the case from all angles.

According to another source, the district crime intelligence bureau (DCIB) personnel stumbled upon the racket, when one of the personnel had gone to a bank. One of the suspects, arrested later, was speaking to a person over phone using code word. The suspect had remitted betting money through real time gross settlement (RTGS) method to the account of a bookie, before making the call. Following this, the police personnel tipped off others, who in a swift operation nabbed others, some red-handed while remitting the amount. Based on their information, the police had taken other suspects into their custody.

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