The Rs 4,000 crore cricket-betting racket busted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Gujarat during the world cup has reached at the doors of several state police officials who forged nexus with betting operators.
Two leading bookies Tommy Patel and Kiran Patel were booked by the ED when it raided a farm house near Vadodara and over a dozen laptops and 100 mobile phones were seized.
Late on Tuesday, Gujarat home department suspended five policemen including two police inspectors (PI) of Gandhinagar and Vadodara, who were found to be linked with bookies running the racket from a farm house in Vadodara.
“Based on the enforcement directorate’s report, we have ordered an inquiry into the allegations of nexus between bookies and police and suspended five policemen,” Gujarat’s additional chief secretary (home) GR Aloria told HT.
Sources said that four IPS officials who served in Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad and Vadodara are under scanner in the betting. North Gujarat is said to be its hub.
“We are conducting an inquiry into the corruption angle of the betting scam,” said Ashish Bhatiya, head of Gujarat’s anti-corruption bureau (ACB). He, however, refused to divulge whether any IPS officer is being probed.
“The ED has submitted a detailed report to the Gujarat authorities on the betting and how widespread it has become in the state with police turning blind eye to the menace,” a top official said, adding, “the satta operators’ link with police is not limited to lower level policemen. In fact, it goes up to SP and range IG levels.”
Officials in the central agency had told media that every world cup match used to generate `20 crore betting turnover in the racket run by Tommy and Kiran, who have been slapped with Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The ED has reportedly taped mobile phones of top bookies which revealed links with Gujarat police officials, who not only turned blind eye to the menace but provided shelter to the bookies to flourish their network.
“We have found that the bookies in Gujarat were linked with bookies in Mumbai, Delhi and Dubai,” said a Gujarat police official.