At least 20 arrested in police crackdown on IPL betting rings in Gurugram

Cracking down against unauthorised cricket betting rackets across the city, the crime branch of Gurugram Police arrested at least 20 people in separate cases for allegedly making bets on Indian Premier League (IPL) matches on Saturday. Since the start of the tournament last month, raids have been separately conducted at four locations – Sushant Lok, Sector 40, DLF Phase 4 and Manesar – and all suspects nabbed were booked under relevant sections of the Public Gambling Act.

The alleged bookmakers had been on the police’s radar since the tournament began on September 19. According to Preet Pal Sangwan, assistant commissioner of police, Gurugram, typically such operations mushroom whenever a domestic or international sports league is telecast. This year, however, the start of sports tournaments, which usually took place in the summer, was delayed due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. With the IPL ongoing, unauthorised betting operations which had been dormant due to Covid-19, have now come back to life, Sangwan said.

In most cases of betting on cricket matches, the modus operandi is largely the same. Police officers said that during a match, the suspects are connected via a ‘live line’ where one of their ‘contacts’ is physically present at the match location, who informs them over the phone about the odds. The ‘local’ bookie takes bets from punters — a person who places the bets. There is an entire chain of ‘bookies’ who communicate over the phone. The odds keep changing as the match progresses, officers added.

Sangwan said, “We are cracking down on all such authorised activities and more arrests are likely to take place on Sunday. Probe so far has found that these bookies bet on all such sporting activities and organise betting sessions from residential areas. They mostly use WhatsApp for communication and have a nexus with bookies at several locations across the city. We are trying to bust the whole chain.

“Since this is a bailable offence, several accused return to gambling after they are released from jails. It is yet to be established, however, if the suspects in these four cases have a common link or whether they were running independent operations. Five FIRs have been registered at respective police stations,” said the ACP.

Police officers said that on Saturday, the crime branch had received a tip-off about two bookmakers operating from a flat in DLF Phase 4, who had taken bets on a match between the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and the Delhi Capitals (DC). Police formed a raiding team and arrested the suspects, who are Delhi residents, while they were taking bets over the phone as the match was screened on a LED screen. Twenty Five mobile phones, six notebooks, eight laptops and dozens of pens were recovered from them.

On Sunday, acting on a tip-off, the same crime unit arrested six persons from a society in New Developing Sectors. Police said the suspects were operating a book on an IPL match and recovered three phones, a notebook and a laptop.

A crime branch official from Sector 40 said, “In one of the raids, the bookmaker on the phone was communicating that the odds were 39 paise for a bet on the team batting first, which means that a person, placing ₹100 on that team at that point of time would receive ₹139 if it wins. The odds keep changing.”

The third raid was conducted after the police received “secret information” that a similar operation was being run in Sushant Lok. Four phones, along with an LED TV, a laptop and ₹20,000 in cash were seized.

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