Home and away,the bookie network

Crackdown by Delhi and Mumbai police,operators with roots in Gujarat,calls to their aides

Written by Sagnik Chowdhury | Mumbai | Published: May 17, 2013 1:58 am

Crackdown by Delhi and Mumbai police,operators with roots in Gujarat,calls to their aides in Pakistan and Dubai

Jupiter to Dubai,Mumbai cops trace Dawood link

Dubai-based Sunil Abhichandani,a front man for fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim,has emerged the suspected underworld controller of an transnational cricket betting syndicate involving bookies based in India,Pakistan and Dubai.

Jupiter and Tikku Madni,two of the bookies arrested by the Delhi police special cell on Thursday,are common links with a betting operation busted in Mumbai two days earlier. In a remand application,the Mumbai police crime branch named them wanted accused in the racket,which involves calls from bookies in Pakistan and Dubai to those in India. And Abhichandani,also known as Sunil Dubai,is suspected to be running this network from Dubai.

“Abhichandani has been identified as the man who has taken charge of Dawood Ibrahim’s international cricket betting syndicate from Dubai,” said a Mumbai police officer. “He also finances small-time bookies.”

A lookout circular for Abhichandani was issued by the Mumbai police in May 2012,after bookies Sonu Jalan and Devendra Kothari alias Junior Kolkata had been arrested during a raid in Kandivali that month. “He used to hobnob with Bollywood personalities during trips to Mumbai,and some of the betting money was also used to finance films. Some actors too placed bets and had incurred losses.”

In 2012,the crime branch arrested Abhichandani’s partner Prakash Chandanani,who was alleged to have co-produced the anti-graft film Gali Gali Chor Hain. The police then asked Nitin Manmohan,the producer,to provide the film’s financial records.

Following the latest Mumbai operation,92 bookies are under the scanner. Ramesh Vyas and his associates Pandurang Kadam and Ashok Vyas,arrested in Tuesday’s raid in Kalbadevi area,were allegedly facilitating telephonic conversations between bookies in Pakistan and Dubai with those in India. The crime branch had arrested Ramesh in 2005,which had led to the arrest of top bookie Shobhan Mehta.

The police recovered 92 mobile phones in Tuesday’s raid,apart from 18 SIM cards,a television set,a laptop,a set-top box and Rs 47,900 in cash. Of the phones,27 were being used to connect with Pakistani bookies and three to connect with those in Dubai.

“Jupiter and Tikku’s names have figured in the investigation in our case. We will be looking into the arrests made by the Delhi police and will be requesting their cooperation,” said crime branch chief Himanshu Roy. He said Jupiter,a major player in bookie circles,had direct dealings with Shobhan Mehta.

An officer involved in the investigation said,“Ramesh got out of jail shortly after his arrest in 2005,and was back in the betting racket within months. He then started acting as a facilitator for cellular conversations between bookies in Pakistan and Dubai and bookies in India. We have found names of 10,11 Indian bookies from places such as Mumbai,Delhi and Rajasthan.”

In the Delhi police crackdown on the IPL fixing racket,five bookies were arrested from Mumbai,three of them from a hotel room on Marine Drive.

In a quick,quiet operation by the special cell,the five bookies and three cricketers were picked up and taken to Delhi early on Thursday morning. The six accused picked up from south Mumbai were taken to Marine Drive police station,where a diary entry was made by the police around 6 am.

Meanwhile,two fresh arrests were made in the Mumbai case on Thursday. The first accused,Pravin Behra alias PD,is a bookie from Bhandup. The police seized 10 cellphones and a laptop from him. The second,identified as Niraj Virchand Shah alias Chintu,is a cellphone service retailer from Kalachowkie and allegedly provided SIM cards using forged documents to Ramesh’s gang,police said.

(Inputs from Gautam S Mengle)

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