Two absconding accused in the international cricket betting scam, estimated to be worth Rs 4,000 crore and busted in Vadodara’s Sikanderpura farmhouse by the Ahmedabad ED on March 20, appeared before the Vadodara court on Thursday evening. The duo — Chirag Zaveri and Dharmendra Chauhan — were remanded to police custody after they were arrested from the court. Meanwhile, the Ahmedabad Enforcement Directorate (ED) has sought transfer custody of the main accused, Kiran Mala, and BJP Unjha Councillor Girish Patel alias Tommy.
According to police, Zaveri and Chauhan had been evading arrest ever since the ED swooped down on the farmhouse, owned by one Jitendra Shah in Vadodara. Zaveri, who had sought anticipatory bail, appeared before the court after his plea was rejected. Zaveri has been remanded to police custody for further interrogation. According to police, Zaveri was a facilitator of the multi-crore international betting scam, in which the ED is seeking to probe the transfer of Hawala funds through a website used for placing bets. Vadodara police, which is investigating the case against the organised gang, had arrested Mala and Patel last week through its Special Operations Group (SOG) branch from Bichwad area of Dungarpur in Rajasthan.
On Thursday, two officers of Ahmedabad ED remained present in the Vadodara court to seek custody of Mala and Patel for probe under the Money Laundering Act. The court will decide on handing them over to the ED at the end of the duo’s one-day extended custody granted to the Vadodara police.
Commissioner of Police E Radhakrishanan said Zaveri and Chauhan were the two wanted partners of a financial firm, Maruti Private Ltd., operated by the accused in Ahmeadabad as a disguise for their betting operations. Radhakrishanan said, “We will now interrogate Zaveri and Chauhan to seek more clues about this entire operation they were involved in.”