Ahead of cricket season, cops prepare for bookies

For some it is a gentleman's game, for others a religion but there are a few others for whom it is nothing more than a money making mint. All that they have to do is place their bets.
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Updated on Jan 24, 2011 12:15 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByKaran Choudhury, New Delhi

For some it is a gentleman's game, for others a religion but there are a few others for whom it is nothing more than a money making mint. All that they have to do is place their bets.

For bookies, the word cricket spells money and more money than anyone can imagine. For the next five months bookies would be busy and doling in cash, thanks to the World Cup and Indian Premier League that are just around the corner.

The Delhi Police is preparing its hunting gear to nab city's bookies keeping in mind the two mega events from the cricketing world. On an average, the police are tapping into a minimum of 40 to 50 phone conversations per day.

According to police there has been a lot of activity as more and more betting rackets are coming up. "The World Cup and IPL will last for almost five months. We are expecting a rise in the number of booking rackets," added the officer.

Arrests fail to stop the racket

The booking racket in the country runs into hundreds of crores.

According to Delhi Police, the epicentre of the racket is Mumbai from where the major bookies operate. In the last one year, Delhi Police caught 104 bookies. However, the police claimed that the bookies caught in Delhi are just glorified 'punters' who mainly take orders from much bigger bookies mainly based in Mumbai.

"They are small-time property dealers, cellphone shop owners or businessmen who just place bets for people from Delhi. They take their cut and pass the rest of the money further," said a senior police officer on condition of anonymity.

On Friday last week, six persons, all established property and car dealers in Rohini, were arrested for allegedly betting during the fourth one-day international between India and South Africa.

"The gang used a website, www.betfair.com, to obtain the latest fluctuating rates for the stakes and betting on the cricket match," said Chhaya Sharma, deputy commissioner of police (outer).

The six accused were caught red-handed on Friday night for running the racket from a house in Sector 16, Rohini, and stake money worth R72,000 was recovered from them.

The police said that arrests fail to make any difference as new bookies come up soon after.

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