The Delhi Police are probing if the money robbed during a daylight heist near Moolchand in South Delhi on Wednesday was linked to a likely betting deal over the ongoing India-New Zealand series.
Rs. 8 crore was looted from a car in broad daylight in Lajpat Nagar area in New Delhi. (Raj K raj/HT photo)
“Since none of the people involved have been able to explain the source of such a huge amount and the purpose for which it was collected, we are probing the possibility of an organised betting syndicate operating out of Delhi and NCR. A team has been tasked to find out if any betting deal had materialised during any of the matches in the ongoing cricket series between India and New Zealand,” said a police officer.
The officer said an Income Tax department team is already probing the source of the money.
Sources said Rajesh Kalra, one of the main characters in the daylight armed heist near Moolchand, is allegedly a bookie-turned-hawala operator.
Kalra, who owned the majority share of the Rs. 8.11 crore that was robbed, had been named in the 2000 cricket match fixing scandal that involved the late Hansie Cronje, then captain of the South African cricket team. He was then named in a chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police crime branch.
Sources said despite being arrested in the match-fixing case and later released on bail, Kalra continued his association with some high-profile bookies. Police now have reason to believe that Kalra is still involved in match fixing and hawala operations.
Highly-placed sources in Delhi Police said Bollywood actor Vindoo Randhawa, son of late wrestler-actor Dara Singh, who was arrested by Mumbai Police last year in connection with match-fixing scandal, was allegedly a close acquaintance of Kalra.
“It has been lear nt that Vindoo Dara Singh drove a luxury sedan, probably a Jaguar, which was given to him by Kalra. This confirms Kalra’s association with Vindoo and some other Mumbai-based bookies. Vindoo and Kalra are close friends,” said the source.
According to the FIR registered in connection with heist, a copy of which is with HT, of the total robbed amount Rs. 8.11 crore, Rs. 4.69 crore belonged to Kalra. Though Kalra’s name has not been mentioned in any of the betting deals in the recent times, investigators suspect a money-laundering link to the robbed money.
About Kalra’s involvement in the 2000 cricket match-fixing case, a police officer confirmed that he was associated with London-based bookie Sanjeev Chawla who had finalised the fixing deal with Cronje during their telephonic conversations.
Chawla ,Kalra, bookie Manmohan Khattar, T-series owner Gulshan Kumar’s brother Krishan Kumar, and Delhi bookie Sunil Dara alias Bittoo were named as accused in the chargesheet. A phone that Cronje was using was apparently given to him by Kalra on the instructions of Chawla. Police are now probing if Kalra was still in touch with Chawla or working for his hawala racket.