New Delhi: Petti and dibba are words for boxes in the Hindi language. But, in the nether world of punters and bookies, they could imply transactions worth millions of rupees. While probing the match-fixing scandal, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) found that betting had become a massive "organised racket" in the country with Mumbai being the centrd of operations. The report, which was made public Wednesday by Sports minister S S Dhindsa, has gone into great detail to describe the workings of the various betting syndicates and procedures they adopt. "Most of their operations are conducted through the computer. So, as soon as a match is over, they even destroy the data on the hard disk so as not to leave behind any records. Their accounting is mind-boggling and which is not easy to decipher. Only a banker can understand their accounting procedures," CBI joint director, R N Sawani, who was investigating the match-fixing scandal, told IANS. The bookies and punters have even drawn up their own code language. Petti and dibba might mean boxes in Hindi but in the world of a bookie they mean something else. A petti means one million rupees while dibba means a telephone with a speakerphone. "The persons operating the dibba will normally have a proper telephone exchange with 10 to 12 incoming lines and around 100 extensions," the report said. One word that is usually mouthed by bookies and punters is "odds". "The odds for a particular match are decided among bookies based on certain accepted criteria such as the relative strength of the two opposing teams, previous record, pitch and weather conditions and team composition," the report said. "If two teams, 'A' and 'B' are scheduled to play and where 'A' is perceived to be relatively weaker than 'B' then the odds may be 60 paise on 'B' and 150 paise on 'A'. After these 'odds' have been decided upon, primarily by bookies based in Mumbai, they are transmitted telephonically to bookies in different parts of India and betting stars," it said. "If a punter places a bet of Rs. 100,000 on team 'B' winning the match, he will get Rs. 60,000, if the team wins. If he places a bet on 'A' winning and the team wins, he will get a sum of Rs. 150,000," the report said. "The word 'odds' is English and is universally used by bookies. However, during our examination we came across a word 'Vallam'. It means that payment has to be made after a bet has been placed and won," Mr Sawani said. The report mentions eight major bookies of India out of which five are from Delhi. Similarly, all the major punters are from Delhi. The CBI has named nine punters who are all from Delhi. The report said that while Mumbai has emerged as a major centre for betting, followed by Delhi and other metropolitan cities such as Calcutta, Chennai, Ahmedabad and even smaller district towns. The liberal provisions of the Public Gambling Act are responsible for the growth of the racket. The maximum punishment under the act in Delhi, for a first offence, is six months in jail and a fine of Rs 1,000. A second offence could result in a fine of Rs 2,000 and two years in jail. "Hence for a bookie or a punter dealing in millions, the provisions of this act are no major cause of worry," the report said. "It seems that it is only a matter of time before major organised gangs take direct control of this racket, a phenomenon that would have implications not only for cricket but for national security as a whole," the report said.
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India Abroad News Service
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