The racket is the biggest unearthed in recent times and could involve around Rs 4,000 cr
Gandhinagar : The Enforcement Directorate, which raided a betting syndicate in operation on the outskirts of Baroda in Gujarat while the India-Bangladesh ICC world cup match was in progress on Thursday seem to have struck a bonanza. According to its estimates, the total betting racket could be well worth around Rs.4,000 cr.
“Of this amount, Rs.1000 cr has been bet only on the ongoing World Cup cricket matches in progress in Australia. Easily this is the biggest betting racket unearthed in recent times in the country”, an ED official confided to the media in Ahmedabad on Friday.
In a raid carried out on Thursday, the ED officials arrested ten people and recovered almost 15 laptops, over a 100 mobile phones and a number of television sets even as India and Bangladesh were locked in a quarterfinal encounter of the ICC World Cup 2015 in Australia. Among those nabbed were two bookies – Girish Patel alias Tomy and Kiran Mala. Girish is a BJP councilor from Unjha town in North Gujarat and is also a director of the Unjha marketyard labelled as the biggest cumin seed market in Asia.
The two bookies had moved in to fill the breach caused by the death of gambling king Dinesh Kalgi. The cricket betting racket has international connections with links in Dubai and Pakistan. Suspicious international transactions aroused the curiosity of the ED which began keeping a track of their activities and then pounced on them.
The Thursday raid was comprehensive and covered numerous other contacts of the duo in various parts of the country. The biggest bonanza, however was the betting record of the two for the last two years, which fell into the hands of the sleuths.
There were already reports that the local bookies were hedging their bets through international betting portals. The customers too were happy since they were getting paid at dollar rates. Bookies in various parts of the state, maybe the country, are learnt to have opened their accounts on betting websites internationally and stocked their e-wallets with currency which was both convenient and profitable.
Other than the farmhouse on the outskirts of Baroda, ED teams also conducted raids at the residences of Kiran as well as Tomi Patel in Ahmedabad. The duo is learnt to shift their operational base to avoid legal authorities. Meanwhile, this is not the first time that Girish Patel has landed himself into trouble with the authorities. His name had figured in IPL Spot Fixing case in the year 2013.
R K MISRA
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