A thriving illegal betting racket on commodities futures prices in the national capital region (NCR) has come to light with the police estimating that bets worth thousands of crore of rupees are being placed daily, hoodwinking regulatory authorities by obscuring the source of slush funds.
Such deals, popularly known as ‘dabba’, is a trade where brokers and speculators illegally bet on future prices of commodities to earn a quick buck. These cash transactions happen outside the legitimate stock exchanges. Punters exchange traded prices as the reference quote to take bets in the grey market.
Investigations into a recent case, in which thousands of north Delhi-based businessmen were found to be indulging in ‘dabba betting’ at a gold retailing hub in bustling Chandni Chowk, have unearthed an elaborate network of 2,500 such punters in Delhi alone, police sources told HT.
About R1,500 crore, according to ‘conservative’ police estimates, are being wagered every single day. “We recently busted a single module based in Chandni Chowk’s Kucha Mahajani. But at least 25 to 30 more modules still remain - mainly in adjacent areas such as Kucha Natwa and Dariba,” admitted an officer.
In one particular instance, a cable operator would relay ‘legally obtained’ fluctuating rates of commodities such as ferrous and non-ferrous metals through an intricate network of cable connections.
Winners and losers would seek updates from a ‘nodal agent’ on an hourly basis with bets valued at, and cold cash valued between R20 and 30 crore changing hands, between the ‘players’ on a daily basis.
This kind of betting, the police claimed, brings everyone from menial workers employed at small shops to wholesale retailers and dealers associated with the sale and purchase of gold, silver and copper on the same table.
Sources in the crime branch, which was behind the operation, put the number of such bookies between 500 and 700 each in markets such as Chandni Chowk and Karol Bagh and between 250 and 300 each in markets such as Daryaganj and Ghaziabad’s Vaishali and Indirapuram.“The ‘dabba’ variety of betting sees bets of thousands of crores being placed every single day. While bookies prefer to place their bets in moving vehicles in Ghaziabad and areas such as Gurgaon and Noida in the NCR, at Chandni Chowk bets are placed in person with no apparent fear of the law,” the officer said.