Actor-producer Arbaaz Khan, the brother of superstar Salman Khan, was questioned for five hours by the Thane Police in connection with the alleged Indian Premier League (IPL) betting racket on Saturday. While police claimed Arbaaz had accepted having placed bets in the past, the actor told reporters while leaving the office of the Anti-Extortion Cell that he had answered all the police’s questions, and would cooperate with the investigation.
Meanwhile, bookie Sonu Jalan alias Sonu Malad, whose questioning had thrown up Arbaaz Khan’s name, was produced before a court and remanded in police custody until June 6. The electronic equipment used by Jalan had been sent for forensic examination, officers said.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Abhishek Trimukhe said, “During his (Khan’s) questioning he has said that he has placed bets in the past. He, however, said that he does not remember the amount for which he has placed bets. We are verifying these claims.”
Thane Anti Extortion Cell senior inspector Pradeep Sharma said, “We questioned Khan for over four hours and he answered our questions. We have allowed him to go and if need be, he will be called again for questioning.” The officer said that during Arbaaz’s questioning, 10-15 names had emerged, but none was linked to Bollywood.
Arbaaz, who had been summoned by the Thane Police on Friday, arrived at the Anti-Extortion Cell around 11 am, and was questioned until 4 pm. Arbaaz, 50, was accompanied by Salman Khan’s bodyguard Shera, who waited outside until Arbaaz was allowed to go. While leaving, Khan said, “I answered all the questions asked by police. It is an ongoing investigation and I will continue to cooperate with the probe.”
On May 16, the Thane Police had arrested five bookies who were allegedly running a betting racket out of Dombivli. The bookies were allegedly using a software to place bets online. Based on their interrogation, the police arrested Sonu Jalan, allegedly a top bookie with international links, earlier this week.
According to police, the software, called ‘Bet and Take’, that was being used by the bookies to place bets nationally and internationally, had been provided by Jalan.
An officer said that on going through diaries that Jalan kept, they had found records of several people who had placed large bets. “The names are, however, in code, and it will take us some time to find out what the initials signify. We called Arbaaz Khan as we found his photographs with Jalan,” the officer said.
Jalan is believed to be associated with Dawood Ibrahim, and is linked to several other international bookies. He was arrested by Mumbai Police in 2012 for betting on the IPL, and released on bail. There were also allegations of his involvement in match-fixing.
Jalan was arrested by the CBI in 2016 in connection with a bribery case against the former joint director of the Enforcement Directorate in Ahmedabad, J P Singh. It was alleged that Singh was involved in extortion from those accused of money-laundering in the IPL betting racket.
Arbaaz Khan did not respond to repeated calls and messages.