Acting on the backdrop of match fixing charges on West Indies cricketer Marlon Samuel for managing Nagpur ODI, the Pune rural police unearthed a major betting racket in Lonavala on Thursday evening after arresting six persons on the charges for carrying out the betting racket from a private bungalow in Lonavala.
All the six accused, who have been identified as Kantilal Bhimji Shah, Shirish Chandrakant Zaveri, Mayur Harendra Shukla, Ashok Dayalal Solanki, Piyush Vinod Bhai Gandhi, and Shirish Kalyanji Solanki, are residents of Mumbai. Pune district superintendent of police Vishwas Nagre Patil told the Hindustan Times that "police received information that these people were running a betting racket from a bungalow in Lonavala, which is owned by Kishorebhai Shah."
"The gang was caught red handed with two laptops, two television sets, 12 mobiles, one radio, one printer and a recorder. We suspect the gang of being involved in hawala as the money was being routed through a well organised hawala connection," said Patil.
The punters came to Lonavla 24 hours prior to the Kolkata ODI and decided to operate from the secluded bungalow behind Rainbow hotel in Walvan village in a bid to keep away the Mumbai police. However, the rural police of Pune got a tip off from an informant about the presence of the bookies on Thursday afternoon. After the tip off police swung into action and swooped down on the bungalow and arrested the bookies.
Police said that the rate for Kolkata ODI was set by punters for Sri Lanka was 45 paise and the same was 55 paise for India. However, neither the bookies could take the book to a logical conclusion because of their arrest nor did the match get completed as rains stopped the Eden Gardens match.
Patil said that the bookies informed the police after information that the book for the match was built in multiples of Rs 1000-Rs2000 and Rs 5000.The clientele were largely from Mumbai, they said.
The total cost of recovery from the seizure has been put at Rs 3.6 lakh, said police.