A former police commissioner of the twin cities of Hubli-Dharwad in North-Karnataka, Ravindra Prasad, who retired in August this year, was questioned for over four hours on Thursday by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Karnataka police in connection with his name cropping up in investigations into a cricket betting racket operating in the twin cities.
The cricket betting racket had come to light in July this year when a local news channel caught on camera the alleged nexus between bookies in Hubli-Dharwad and the police in the city. In the sting operation carried out by the local channel, a Deputy Commissioner of Police in Hubli-Dharwad Hanumantharaya was caught on camera demanding a bribe from the TV crew posing as bookies to run their racket.
A case that was registered was handed over to the CID for probe. The CID have so far four bookies, one mediator and three police constables attached with various police stations in Hubli. The arrested accused had in the course of their voluntary statements named the then police commissioner Ravindra Prasad, a promoter IPS officer, as one of the policemen who demanded pay-offs to allow bookies to operate in the twin cities. The police on Thursday summoned Ravindra Prasad to the CID head office and questioned him in the presence of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) KV Sharath Chandra and Superintendent of Police (SP) A R Kumaraswamy from 10 am to 2 pm.
They asked the former cop around 45 questions to know why Prasad was in regular touch with bookies and one of the accused police constables on his phone. The investigation has revealed that Prasad was in regular touch with arrested bookies Arjun Shiralkar, Veeru Katari and others exchanging more than 100 calls with each other. The calls were made through Prasad’s residential land line, office land line, as well as official and personal mobile numbers.
According to CID sources, Prasad has denied all the allegations against him. He told investigators that he was communicating with the accused since they were his informants and a few of them were also members of local peace committees in Hubli. In a reply to a query on why he had not initiated any cases against cricket betting, Prasad said he had instructed by his subordinates to book cases but they had not done so. “We have sent voice samples conversations between Prasad and some of the accused for tests. We may call him again for questioning,” a police officer said.
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