Probe into cricket betting racket turns murkier

CID men tasked with Handibag's case got undue favours, claims CMC member in custody

 The district police, who are investigating into the cricket betting racket, seem to have stumbled upon explosive information that may cast aspersion at the integrity of investigation officers attached to criminal investigation department (CID).

The CID personnel were earlier tasked with the probe into DySP Kallapa Handibag’s suicide case, following a kidnap case linked to the unabated betting racket.

According to sources, City Municipal Council (CMC) member C S Ravikumar alias ‘Kayi’ Ravi and his aides who were recently arrested by the police following their involvement in the racket, had also appeared before the CID in relation to Handibag’s case. Ravikumar has revealed before the investigators now that he had bribed an investigation officer in CID then with Rs two lakh to evade further consequences. Not just him, even 25 others mostly bettors and bookies who had appeared for interrogation then have followed the suit, by paying whatsoever money demanded by the officer, he has stated further.

All these recent statements have been video recorded and forwarded to both IGP (western range) and DG and IG of police, according to another source who allude at two officials in CID who may face the music.

According to an officer who wished anonymity, going by the nature of information being disclosed by Ravikumar and his aides, CID, considered as the state’s elite investigation team, changed the course of investigation in Handibag’s case, that can be proved further only by high-level investigation.

For now, it substantiates the allegation heard in the public that “CID personnel have been indulged in extorting the suspects, mainly bettors and bookies” in the name of investigation.

Kingpin

Ravikumar, who has spilled the name of the kingpin, the main bookie who operates from Bengaluru, has told the investigators that the illegal activity named “Bengaluru hotline, Mysuru hotline and Sakleshpur hotline (Hassan district) was monitored by the Bengalurean.”

What makes it further intricate is that the kingpin is believed to be the son of a prominent jeweller who has a shop on M G road in Chikkamagaluru. He resides in a prestigious locality in Bengaluru. He rubs shoulders with who is who of the society, virtually forming a fort around him, to prevent others from reaching him. Many of the police personnel are on his rolls, that also makes it easy for him to give refuge to other bookies fearing arrest.

The local police are learnt to have sought the assistance of their counterparts in the capital to reach him, it is said.

It may be recalled that regional convener of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Praveen Khandya was recently arrested by the police for his role in the kidnap of Tejas Gowda. Gowda, who was involved in betting racket, owed money to Kalmane Nataraj of Kalmane Chit Fund. When he could not repay, Nataraj gave supari to Khandya to kidnap Gowda. Khandy, to play it safe, sought the help of unsuspecting Handibag in collecting the ransom amuount of Rs 10 lakh. However, things went awry when Handibag was booked in the kidnap case, which later claimed his life.

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