Move over boozing-on-the-go aficionados. The Capital's streets, during the current season of Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket, seem to belong to quick thinking, entrepreneurial bookies who are placing their bets on the move fearing the purported long arm of the law.
To avoid being identified by snooping cops through 'abnormal cellular traffic' emanating from their rented haunts, sources claim bookies are increasingly stuffing themselves in cars and hitting the road.
Their new modus operandi, sources claim, involves 25 to 30 mobile phones in one moving vehicle as opposed to using one 'voice box' and a lesser number of phones to receive information about prevailing betting rates, from a static location such as a rented flat.
This means that one person handles around five to six phones simultaneously to be in the know of, and place suitable bets on, the competing teams at any given point in time based on their perpetually fluctuating 'rates' — which change with each ball delivered, each run scored and each wicket that falls.
"As opposed to a static location like, say, a hotel room or a rented flat where a mismatch between the number of persons it can visibly accommodate and the mobile traffic it is generating can lead us on, tens of thousands of mobile connections can be active on a bustling street," the officer said.
Meanwhile, the Delhi Police insists that the current IPL season hasn't elicited as much interest among bookies. Bets between Rs 75 crore to Rs 100 crore are expected to be placed as opposed to bets of over Rs 100 crore placed last season.
"More than 25 betting rackets had been busted last year leading to the arrests of more than 65 people," the officer claimed.
However, HT met a group of bookies and learnt that this may not necessarily be the case. "Of course it's still underway, boss. Just not as much in the open as it was last season," a bookie said. "The Delhi Daredevils are the favourites to win his season, followed by Bangalore, Chennai and then Pune."