Bookies in Gujarat on the run after police raid

Published: Friday, June 17, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Ahmedabad:The arrest of Shoban Mehta, considered the "big daddy" of cricket betting in the country, and subsequent raids in the city have prompted many bookies here to go underground.

A city-based bookie admitted "the arrest of Mehta and the subsequent raids and arrests of another big bookie codenamed 'Jai Jinendra' on Wednesday night has spread panic among 20 other big bookies who have gone to undisclosed destinations."

The bookie said "none of these top bookies surfaced since Mehta's arrest and whatever little betting is going on is through smaller channels".

He said all the main aspects concerning placing of bets during an international cricket match are fixed from Mumbai as it is the "unofficial headquarters" of bookies in the country.

"The details (of the matches) are all collected from various sources by Mumbai-based bookies and it is they who decide the betting rates within the country and other factors", the bookie said.

This information is passed on to bookies across the nation and punters, middle-men and small-timers in the trade also get involved in informing clients about the rates and its developments, the bookie said.

Most of the money dealings are done through 'hawala' transactions or angadia (local courier), he said.

Crime Branch officials investigating the sensational case said they are working towards busting the bookies network operating in the state.

Mehta, arrested under the Mumbai Gambling Act, was brought to the city on June 11 and was granted conditional bail by a local court.

Police had time and again busted cricket betting rackets and have seized large numbers of cell phones, computers and private telephone exchanges which were set up during an ODI series but the accused got bail fast and resumed operations, a police official said.

Mehta, also known to trade in diamonds, is understood to have got into trouble with an underworld gangster who had betted heavily on an international match played in Ahmedabad in 1999 and lost heavily as the bookie had fixed it.

Read more about: news, ahmedabad, thatscricketcom, june 17
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