Leaving the calling card in India’s shadowy world of cricket fixing
For alleged cricket bookies like Tinku Mandi, Jupiter, Jeetu Tharad, Chotu Jalandhar and Chota Nagpur, their ‘operating name’ is virtually their address.cricket Updated: Nov 24, 2016 18:58 IST
Name and notoriety go hand-in-hand in Indian cricket’s dark underbelly, the organised world of illegal betting.
The shadowy figures who pull the strings to manipulate the odds for every ball bowled and run scored, accumulate crores of rupees from every international match.
However, nicknames are what earn these top cricket bookies standing in their sphere of activity than the massive sums they deal with every time the umpire calls ‘play’.
Sample these names: For alleged cricket bookies like Tinku Mandi, Jupiter, Jeetu Tharad, Chotu Jalandhar and Chota Nagpur, their ‘operating name’ is virtually their address.
The these persons were arrested by the Delhi Police and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) over their alleged involvement in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal and in the illegal betting on IPL matches. Those held by Delhi Police were released by a Delhi court in July 2015, “discharged” of all allegations.
With no specific laws to curb illegal betting, it is business as usual for these operators.
Following his arrest in the wake of the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal, a Delhi Police special branch officer asked top bookie, Ashwani Aggarwal, about his surname, Tinku Mandi.
“Sir, main Azadpur subzi mandi area mein paida hua or wahin bada hua. (I was born and grew up in the Azadpur subzi mandi area). So everybody calls me Tinku Mandi,” Ashwani, who lives in Adarsh Nagar in Northwest Delhi, replied.
According to police records, Tinku Mandi is a college dropout and the main Indian conduit for overseas underworld figures involved in spot- and match-fixing.
Delhi police told the court that Tinku Mandi was the key accomplice of fugitive underworld dons Dawood Ibrahim and Chota Shakeel in cricket fixing.
Another is Chandresh Jain alias Jupiter, who got the nickname because he owned Jupiter Jewels in Jaipur. He was first arrested for betting in 2012. But given bail, he got full time into illegal cricket betting.
In the police and ED records, Jupiter is an alleged ‘master bookie’ and key ally of Tinku Mandi, who was arrested by the Delhi Police special branch with 29 others, including Rajasthan Royals players S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankit Chavan in 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal.
Another alleged member of the syndicate is Jitender Jain, who is known as Jeetu Tharad. He hails from Tharad, a small town in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district, though he now lives in Ahmedabad. He is allegedly an expert at tapping players to fix games.
Another bookie, Sanjay Agarwal is known in the betting industry as Chota Nagpur. It has nothing to do with the plateau in Jharkhand, but refers to his lack of height and mentor, based in Nagpur.
There are some more interesting names in the police files.
Nitin Jain, based in Delhi’s Shalimar area, has an unflattering nickname ‘Susu’ while Shahdara resident, Dipit Garg, is simply ‘Love’.
But it was ‘Chotu Jalandhar’ who handled the most challenging job for the fixing syndicate. According to the chargsheet filed by ED (Ahmedabad), Ritesh Bansal aka Chotu Jalandhar disclosed that during matches in IPL 2013 he would be in the stadium and send ball-by-ball details over phone, giving information before punters could watch on TV, gaining advantage of the 6-7 second transmission lag.