KOLKATA: The IPL season has just about begun and the anti-rowdy section of the detective department has already smelled out organized betting rackets operative across Kolkata. The ARS raided guest houses and residences at Salt Lake, Dalhousie, Jadavpur and on Park Street and arrested nine people. Seventeen mobiles, 14 laptops, three TV sets, a car and Rs 1.5 lakh in cash were seized from them.
“We received information that during matches involving Rajasthan and Bangalore and those in which players like, Virat Kohli and K L Rahul featured, several people in the city were placing cricket bets from different parts of Kolkata. Accordingly, ARS officers raided places across Park Street, Sector V in Salt Lake, Hare Street (Dalhousie), Burtolla and Jadavpur. Four cases under cheating and criminal conspiracy of the IPC and sections 3 and 4 of West Bengal Gambling & Prize Competition Act have been registered against the nine arrested. The accused were produced in court on Friday,” said joint CP Santosh Pandey. “More raids are on.”
The first arrests were made at Park Street from where three persons were rounded up. “We have found some repeat offenders from last year,” said an officer, saying the Kolkata’s match with Mumbai set the course for the bookies.
While betting in Kolkata is not new, the fact that punters were ready to play out large amounts at the beginning of the tournament amid the pandemic surprised investigators. Police said a couple of the accused had links with rackets active in Mumbai and Ahmedabad. They were investigating whether the two were part of the nation-wide notorious “dabba phone” gang or merely played on game apps with money, but not exactly had connections with match-fixing. “The rate of odds on the teams originates outside India in ‘dabba-phone’ cases.
For gaming apps, the rates are decided on multiple apps. The rates keep fluctuating with every fall of wicket and runs scored,” said a source. Police suspected this gang had links with Baguiati and Posta betting circles that were busted in IPL spot fixing case last year. “The accused operated via sub-bookies,” said an officer. “Most betting was limited to individual players and overs.”