The Mumbai police on Thursday nabbed two persons from a hotel in Juhu for allegedly accepting and placing bets on the India-West Indies match in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup. This is the third such arrest within a week, police said.
Following a tip-off, the Juhu police reportedly raided the Sun N Sand Hotel at 10.30 pm on Thursday and caught the two bookies — Dharmaraj Vala (42) and Amrish Brahmabhatt (43) — from a room in the fourth floor of the hotel.
Senior inspector of Juhu police station, Pandharinath Wavhal said that a laptop, a tablet, 27 cell phones, a mobile junction box and Rs 44,000 in cash were seized from the men. A junction box is used by bookies to operate several phones lines simultaneously while dealing with multiple punters, police said.
“The bookies had been receiving real-time information on rates on dedicated lines, which they were in turn conveying to punters,” a senior police official said.
The police said that Vala, who is from Ahmedabad and Brahmabhatt, who is from Mehsana, had booked a room in the hotel online and checked in on Wednesday. “So far, the accused have claimed to have accepted and placed bets on two matches played on Wednesday and Thursday,” Wavhal said. The two matches were played between India and West Indies, and Pakistan and New Zealand.
The bookies, police said, had placed bets ranging between Rs 16-20 lakh each on both the matches.
“They would transfer the money to punters via hawala,” added the official.
Officials, who were part of the raid, said that both men have been operating as bookies in Gujarat for the last two years. “They are known to the police in Gujarat and claim to have moved to Mumbai as the police doesn’t know about them here. This gave them impression that their activities would not be tracked,” an official at Juhu police station said.
The police claim that they chose Hotel Sun N Sand as the base of their operation taking advantage of infrequent police visits to five-star hotels. The men were produced in a court on Friday and remanded to police custody till July 2.
Wavhal said that a majority of the punters, who had placed bets with he duo, were based out of Mumbai.
On June 25, the police had caught four men, including a police sub-inspector, from Ramee Guestline Hotel in Dadar, who were allegedly using a web portal to place bets on a match between England and Australia. Last week, the Anti-Narcotics Cell of the Mumbai Police crime branch had raided a second floor room at Hotel Balwas in Grant Road, where they caught two men for placing Rs 14 crore worth bets on World Cup matches over 20 days.