Mobile messaging apps seem to be the ‘secret communication tool’ among bookies to escape the cops’ eye during the ICC World Cup.
Reason: Other means of communication like mobile phone, e-mail or even coded messages on social networking sites could be intercepted by the police easily.
“Getting in touch with bookies through chat service would be safer as the other ways of communications can put you in trouble,” said one of the key operatives of the betting racket on Friday. He, however, confessed that a huge amount (somewhere around ` 200 crore) was already riding on the much-hyped IndiaPakistan match on Sunday morning. “Certainly, a big chunk of this money comes from Lucknow itself. We have certain target areas in the state.”
“Over half-a-dozen groups have been created on the messaging service and the administrators would only be adding well-known people, as new players may create problem in the system,” he said, adding, “All the group administrators have already been linked with the big guns of the trade.”
Australia and South Africa are the hot favourites for the title this time, and much would depend on how India perform in the World Cup, especially against Pakistan. “Much would depend on the performance of Dhoni & Co as Indians would love to put money on the home side,” he said. “The stakes for the betting world could have been high, if India had done well in the series in Australia. The rates would be declared only after South Africa play their first match against Zimbabwe on February 15.”
Meanwhile, sensing the activities of the betting kingpins in Lucknow, cops are on high alert and would be keeping a tab on nearly 50 mobile numbers during the live telecast of India-Pakistan match on Sunday.
“Yes, we are keeping a tab on each and every activity of some identified persons whose names have surfaced earlier for operating betting racket in the city,” said Yashasvi Yadav, SSP.
He said six separate teams of crime branch had also been constituted for the purpose.
“We have prepared a list of cell numbers of several suspicions persons. Though some numbers are not functional for last few days, and locations of a few are outside the state, we will still keep surveillance on them,” said a crime branch sleuth.
He confirmed that there was specific input that some of the city bookies had changed their location and cell numbers apprehending police surveillance during the World Cup matches.
Crime branch teams were in continuous touch with their Delhi and Ghaziabad counterparts, as city bookies were mainly associated with bookies based there, he added.