A cricket betting organizer was arrested by the crime branch for allegedly facilitating betting during the IPL final match between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Banglore. Police said the arrest was “significant” as the accused has been one of the “major facilitators” of betting in the city for the past several years and arranged for rates from punters across the world, especially the Middle East.
The accused, Amit Dhawan, was arrested from Uttam Nagar last Saturday on a tip-off, Ashok Chand, deputy commissioner of police (crime), said. A laptop, a data card, 103 mobile phones, 100 mobile chargers, 100 ear phone leads and a colour TV were seized from Dhawan. He has been instrumental in relaying the ball-by-ball rates from bookies to punters during the cricket World Cup and the IPL tournament.
“He was gearing up for India’s tour of the West Indies. We have now got a fresh list of punters from him which we are investigating. Interestingly, quite a few punters mentioned in the list are women,” said an investigating officer. Telecom officials will be asked to join the probe to understand how the accused escaped detection for the past so many years, said the officer.
“He had a well organized and dedicated set up of phone lines to receive international calls via Jaipur. He provided current betting rate on phone lines to 200-300 bookies in north India and operated a betting racket which covered Delhi and NCR,” Chand said. Dhawan provided phone lines to 200-220 bookies through 99 mobile handsets by using conference facilities, Chand added.
Earlier, Dhawan was a bookie. After he suffered a huge loss during a tournament three years ago, he came in contact with a person in Jaipur who provided betting lines to bookies. Dhawan set up a line and started providing betting rates to bookies on an uninterrupted line.
“He kept changing his location to avoid detection. He charged Rs 3,000 to Rs 3,500 for each line and checked betting rates on the internet on betfair.com.
Rohini, Matia Mahal in Old Delhi, Tilak Nagar, Dwarka and Bindapur are some of the areas that witnessed heavy betting during the World Cup and IPL tournaments. Crime branch sources said almost all syndicates showed more than Rs 40 lakh transactions through hawala in just one session of play. “What added to the problem were not the rates coming from betting sites in England, but those coming from Dubai through Mumbai and Jaipur through the dabba phones. In total, we believe over Rs 150 crore was at stake in the NCR region,” said a special unit officer of the crime branch.
The modus operandi of betting is that the rates of the odds between the two cricket playing teams originate from various sources. On the basis of that the bets are placed during the match. After the match is over, profit and losses are calculated by a software known as Back ‘N’ Lay Pro. The rates keep fluctuating with the fall of wickets and the runs scored. Laptops are used for data entry and management. Mobile phones are used for getting the rates of the odds on the match and for taking bets. The recording facility on the mobile phone is used for keeping records of the bets placed by punters. One set of mobile phones is specifically used for receiving the rates. Apart from receiving rates on telephone, bookies also receive the rates on internet for which they use data cards.